Winter l Spring 63
Hurricane Heroes to the Rescue
Rachel Copeland was worried sick about her elderly
grandmother in Clearwater as Hurricane Irma set her
sights on Florida in early September.
Copeland had just lived through the devastating effects of
Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, including the record
flooding that inundated the region. So she had a good
reason to be concerned.
She wrote to the
if officers had
time to check on
who lives alone
in a Clearwater
though the police
department was busy
making preparations of
its own for Irma, Officer James
Frederick and four police aides -- Ivan Hernandez, Conner
Davis, Andrew Coleman and Marquez Hartsfield -- took the
time to visit Betty Helmuth.
thanked each of
the five multiple
they all were and
told them she loved them.
The photos and video from the moment went viral on the
police department’s social media accounts. Helmuth’s story
was told repeatedly in local media, nationwide and across
“My family will forever be grateful for everything you have
done,” Copeland wrote in a thank-you card after the visit.
“I never expected a response, let alone the one I got. I was
so scared, and you helped us more than you know. You
went above and beyond.”