BENSON — While America’s police have been caught in the middle of civil unrest throughout the country, there are communities that wholeheartedly support law enforcement and the protection they provide the people they serve.

Benson is one of those communities.

In a show of support for the police department, the Benson Hospital kicked-off an appreciation campaign to recognize local law enforcement officers, and extended an invitation to local businesses to join the effort.

On Tuesday morning, 12 masked hospital employees descended on the police department with breakfast items and snacks, an autographed poster board, and a handmade wooden flag bearing the following messages: “We see you; We support you; We thank you.”

Tuesday’s kick-off was organized as a surprise, so the officers had no idea what the hospital had planned.

“We just wanted to show our appreciation to our police department for all the support you give this community and hospital,” Ashley Dickey, hospital marketing director and public information officer said.

“And we’re not alone. When we reached out to the business community, everyone stepped up and wanted to join us. The community will be providing breakfast, lunch and dinner from now (Tuesday morning) through Saturday,” Dickey said to the officers gathered in the police station.

Benson Police Officer Pablo Camargo expressed his gratitude to the group, noting that in “such frustrating times,” it’s nice to be appreciated.

“Most cops don’t expect anything like this, so when gestures like this happen, it’s a great feeling for all of us,” he said. “We are truly grateful to all of you.”

While hospital employee Stephanie McCartha is credited for coming up with the idea, she is quick to shift any accolades to the community.

“It may have been my idea, but it was a very small idea that has grown into something really amazing on the community’s part,” she said. “Every single business that we approached about doing this with us was immediately on board. It was such an amazing response.”

Hospital Chief Operations Officer Teresa Vincifora also had words of praise for the police department and community.

“The Benson Police Department is always there for us in times of emergency, and we want to show them how much we appreciate all they do,” she said. “Based on the overwhelming response we received, this community really appreciates our police department,” she added.

Detective Brian Williams also expressed his gratitude to the hospital and community.

“Overall, the community of Benson is very supportive of the police department,” he said. “We don’t always get to hear the positive things, so this is a very rewarding gesture.”

“Unfortunately, law enforcement officers are often judged by the actions of a few, which puts us under the spotlight in a negative way. So, this is really awesome. We appreciate all of you for this,” he added.

Williams also joked about how secretive the hospital was about the recognition.

“My wife is a nurse at the hospital, and she didn’t say one thing about this,” he said with a smile.

Ace Hardware donated wood for the police officer support flag, which was immediately displayed on the station’s wall.

“It is heartwarming to see all the heartfelt sentiments that the Benson Hospital staff brought the men and women of the Benson Police Department,” said Police Chief Paul Moncada. “They make sure that we feel appreciated. They take the time to do this in spite of having to work very long shifts in today’s new normal.”

“We are grateful to the hospital and community for this amazing show of appreciation,” he said.

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