Police cadets help family in need

PITTSFORD — Sometimes extraordinary things can happen on ordinary days.
Week before last, single dad Rik Hinckley and his teenage daughter, Emma, were having an ordinary day full of obstacles.
Hinckley, 52, was a pipefitter for 22 years before two failed back surgeries sidelined him from work. His back trouble also prevents him from moving large objects.
On Aug. 31, he and Emma, 14, had managed to get a used sofa from the Goodwill in Rutland into his truck. They drove back to their home on Pinewoods Road in Pittsford, and backed the truck down their driveway and up to their front door.
That was the easy part. The father and daughter were standing on their front lawn trying to figure out how to get the full-size couch off the truck and into the living room with his bad back and her diminutive frame.
Then Rik heard an odd sound.
“I heard cadence,” he said. “I turned and looked and saw them all passing on the road.”
The cadence Hinckley heard was the sound of roughly 30 pairs of feet pounding the pavement in unison as a corps of Vermont State Police cadets came running by the Hinckley house. The Vermont Police Academy is located about 1.6 miles away off Furnace Road in Pittsford.
The Hinckleys watched the cadre of cadets led by their instructor go by.
“They were all dressed in yellow shirts and black shorts,” Rik Hinckley said, sitting with Emma on the couch in question at their home. “And we watched them all go by … and then the last two stopped dead in the road.”
Emma, a sophomore at Otter Valley Union High School, said she heard the section chief say, “Group One, Follow me!”
In the blink of an eye, Rik and Emma were surrounding by the cadets, and the instructor walked up and said, “Do you need help with that, sir?”
Hinckley recalled that the man was very fit and had gray hair.
“I said, ‘Really? As a matter of fact, yes,’ and the next thing we know, the couch rose out of the truck bed and without a word, four cadets moved it into the house and set it where we wanted it,” Hinckley recalled.
On a command from the instructor, the cadets got back in formation.
“They all said, ‘Have a good day, sir,’ and they were in formation and then I could hear them in the distance running toward Route 7,” Hinckley said.
He said he had tears in his eyes, and when he turned to Emma, she was crying, too.
“I said, ‘I can’t believe that just happened,’” he said. “I said, ‘Emma, that’s God or something because coincidences like that don’t just happen.’”
Hinckley said the cadets simply looked over and knew he and his daughter needed help and acted on that instinct, but there is more to the story than that.
“It was an absolutely selfless act of kindness,” he said. “In this day and age, with all the negativity and the tension right now … They showed my little girl what true selfless compassion was, and that’s something I could never teach her.”
There is another layer to this tale for Hinckley, and that would be the effect the cadet’s act had on him as well.
“Back in my days, when I was a wrecking ball and had my head up my behind … When the cops came to see me, they came in masses and it was never a good scene,” he said.
Despite his occasional run-ins, Hinckley said he had always wanted to be a state trooper when he was younger, but his physical issues prevented that career track.
“What an absolute gift for me,” he said of the cadet experience. “To be honest and humbled enough and be with my little girl and have her witness that. I can’t ever repay them for that. It’s good to know there are young recruits in good hands being shown priceless gifts like that.”
A call to the Vermont Police Academy for comment was not returned by press time.
Emma sat next to her dad on the couch and listened to him retell the tale. Asked if she felt the same way, she immediately started nodding her head.
“People don’t take into consideration what people like the police do for us sometimes, and having that happen was just amazing,” she said thoughtfully. “I guess it did change my perspective.”
As for her dad, he is realistic in knowing that she won’t always be his little girl, but now there is a caveat.
“I said that I guess if she ever decides to date boys, and it’s a Vermont State Police cadet, it might be OK,” Hinckley said.

Share this story:

More News
US Probation Office Uncategorized

US Probation Office Request for Proposals

US Probation Office 2×1.5 062024 RFP

Middlebury American Legion Uncategorized

Middlebury American Legion Annual Meeting

Middlebury American Legion 062024 1×1.5 Annual Meeting

Sports Uncategorized

MAV girls’ lax nets two triumphs

The Mount Abraham-Vergennes cooperative girls’ lacrosse team moved over .500 with a pair o … (read more)

Share this story: