School closings

Holland police officer shares unlikely friendship with teen with Down syndrome

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HOLLAND, Mich. -- It's an unlikely friendship between an officer and a teenager in Holland, one that's changed both of their lives for the better.

Benji Feaster, 14, has Down's syndrome and has had a fascination with law enforcement since a young age. It all started a few weeks ago at Holland's Junior Police Academy, where Benji met Officer Adam Sokolove and became instant friends.

Last week, the tactical team surprised Benji at his home. It's something they say is the least they can do for someone who's brought so much joy to them.

"It's a friendship that hopefully will last a very long time," said Sokolove. "Me and him spent some serious time where it was just kind of Sok- and Benji time. "We'd come down here and just let him sit in the car. We'd play and goof around and everyone got to know him."

"His face just lit up when he saw the vehicles coming," said Dennis Feaster, Benji's father. "They took time out of their day to come and make a huge difference in the life of someone and we're forever grateful."

It didn't end there.

"Benji has a lot of fun sitting in the car," said Sokolove. "When I drive around I let him get on the microphone and play with the sirens. It was pretty fun."

It's something that's changed Officer Sokolove's life for the better.

"The fact that he's always smiling, he's always excited and every day is just a great day, I can't say that about myself," said Sokolove. "There's days where I have great days and there's day where I have terrible days, but the world would be a better place if there were a lot more Benji's.

It's a reminder why he does this job, Sokolove says.

"The little things such as sitting in that seat I forget about because I'm so used to it, so to see how happy he is just to pick up the microphone is awesome," said Sokolove.

Officer Sokolove says he's going to try and see Benji a lot more in the future. Benji's school is in the area he patrols, so he plans on stopping in regularly.

 

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