DIBOLL, Texas (KTRE) - Two Diboll police officers stopped by a birthday celebration for an unexpected special delivery to two children.
Meet Ashton and Lauryn Oliphant. They’re twins, and they just celebrated turning four years old. They had their special day in Diboll over the weekend.
“The kids were doing water play, and then we noticed police officers pulling up and they came to a stop,” Neci Oliphant, the twins’ mother, said. “The first thing that came to my mind was ‘oh my, did we have the music up too loud?‘”
Enter Officers Wesley McNeely and Antonio Pantoja Jr. with the Diboll Police Department, who were out on their normal patrol duties.
“I observed a banner that said ‘Happy Birthday’ to two children,” McNeely said. “You could tell they were small children because of the decals and the banners of cartoon characters.”
So, the officers decided to jump into action.
“I went to a store here locally, and I purchased some gifts,” McNeely said. “We put them in some bags, decorated them, brought them back to the residence and gave [the gifts] to them.”
“I got a Barbie,” Lauryn Oliphant said. “And a walkie talkie with a microphone,” Ashton Oliphant said.
That’s on top of the gifts they got from their family too.
“They got a lot of Bubble Guppy gifts, tablets, headphones to go with their tablets; a lot PJ Mask for the boy and L.O.L Toys for the girls,” Neci Oliphant said.
“They were excited, and it made me happy,” Pantoja said. “They were excited about the toys. They were enjoying their birthday party with their family. Due to COVID-19, I’m sure there were some family members that couldn’t attend, but they were happy.”
“God spoke to my heart and told me, ‘you are a public servant,‘” McNeely said. “‘Your main priority and goal is to serve and protect the citizens of this city. And that means to build a relationship, as well.‘”
“We encourage community policing, but they’ve taken this upon themselves,” Diboll Police Chief Steve Baker said. “This is them, not me, that have gone out and do this. I think this just helps build trust within the community. That’s so important now. It couldn’t be more important now, more than ever.”
“We were like, ‘aww that’s so sweet’ because we don’t really know them,” Laressa Mitchell, the twins’ godmother, said. For them to have a heart of kindness to do that is very thoughtful. And with the times we’re in, we need stuff like that. We’re very appreciative.”
Chief Baker says Officer McNeely has been with the force for a several years now, while Officer Pantoja recently joined.