Got Milk? 10-year-old St. Cloud girl gives sweet treats to Austin law enforcement
When Sophina Lindquist, 10, of St. Cloud stopped by the Mower County Law Enforcement Center in Austin on Tuesday, she wanted to give something sweet to those who protect and serve.
Ever since Lindquist was young, she loved firefighters and police officers—she always wears a pair of firefighter boots on her feet, said Connie Lindquist, Sophina’s mother. It started with sharing dinner with firefighters in memory of 9/11, and since then, Sophina was enchanted by the heroes she saw in uniform.
“She wanted to make sure that she thanks everyone who was a first responder or a police officer,” Connie said. “She’s her happiest when she’s visiting an officer. A long time ago, we wanted to make sure our firefighters and police officers know that we supported them in what they do.”
With family in tow, Sophina made her rounds around the Law Enforcement Center. When she would see an officer or deputy in uniform, she’d grab a homemade cookie to deliver to a staff member. Though it’s a small token of appreciation, law enforcement officials still saw it as a sweet gesture.
Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik received a cookie from Lindquist and got to spend some time with her. He showed her the front reception area and arranged for her to get photos taken in front of squad cars around the back with deputies and officers. It was a nice change of pace for the agency.
“It’s fantastic,” Sandvik said. “This was definitely a great morale booster to brighten your day. It’s a nice surprise and break in the day. Besides, you can never turn down a homemade cookie.”
This type of visit was one that Sophina relishes. She often goes with her family to various agencies around Minnesota to deliver cookies. Each visit, she develops personal relationships with the officers and the firefighters who she looks up to every day. She learns their first names and often tries to keep in contact with them. Austin would be the farthest distance in all directions that the Lindquists traveled to deliver cookies.
That was how she came to develop a relationship with Austin Police Officer Dave Dyke, who met Sophina a year ago.
Sophina has Down Syndrome and suffers from multiple health problems. While she was receiving treatment in the Twin Cities, Dyke happened to hear about her and decided to pay her a visit.
“We were in the cities at the time and decided to visit her and bring a few treats as well as my uniform,” Dyke said. “Since then, we’ve been in contact.”
Now, the two are thick as thieves. They played Candyland in the interview room at the Law Enforcement Center and joked around. He would hold Sophina in his lap while she would give him a big hug and smile. To Sophina, Dyke was a personal hero. When asked what her favorite thing about handing out cookies was, she immediately pointed toward Dyke and grinned.
“She’s an amazing little kid,” Dyke said. “We’re so grateful anytime we get treats. It’s really cool to meet people and seeing how thankful they are for the stuff we all do. It’s nice to be appreciated. To have Sophina come down on a two-and-a-half hour drive to see us and travel to hang out with us for a couple hours is so cool.”
One time Sophina had to stay in the hospital for eight days. When some of her officer friends statewide heard of her sickness, 51 officers came to the hospital to visit her over the course of her hospital stay. It was something that Connie said brought tears to her eyes.
Though cookies are only a small gesture, it meant everything to Sophina and her family to go out of their way to thank those who protect and serve them.
“Being with these men and women is her favorite thing to do in the world,” she explained. “The hard part of doing this is getting to know these officers or firefighters, and then hearing about them passing away. There was a recent funeral for a police officer, and she cried herself to sleep. She wants them to have a life with family.”
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