John Howard’s efforts to help youngsters and senior citizens in Moraine have been adopted by the city while earning the veteran police officer both community and county-wide accolades.
The programs that Howard, 48, developed in his off-duty hours – Heroes vs. Homework and Safe Seniors – were cited as key reasons why he was named Moraine’s Police Officer of the Year, that city’s Employee of the Year and the 2018 honoree of the Montgomery County Association of Police Chiefs’ Douglas Knight Humanitarian Award.
“His efforts were so extraordinary that the command staff here at the police department took his ideas and expanded upon them, making some of his ideas official community engagement programs,” Moraine Police Chief Craig Richardson said, quoting a nomination letter.
A 21-year veteran of the Moraine PD, Howard “has been involved in almost every facet of police work” during his tenure, but his “most significant contributions have been in improving the welfare of his community while not directly representing the police department,” according to the letter.
Heroes vs. Homework took root after Howard and his wife were “taking less fortunate children from the community shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies,” according to the letter.
Arrangements would be made with the children’s guardians, and the Howards “paid for the shopping sprees from their own pockets and were simply trying to help some deserving children,” the letter stated. “He had done this for several years before anyone learned of his generosity. “
Later, “in his off-duty time, John came up with a program which he later called Safe Seniors,” according to the nominating letter. “His program was a voluntary service to identify and locate seniors and other at-risk populations in times of emergency. The program was designed to improve the safety, dignity and quality of life for the residents of the community.”
In 2015, the Moraine PD adopted the program, Richardson said.
Howard was honored by the county police chiefs earlier this year with the award named after Knight, a former Vandalia police chief and city manager who died last year.
“John’s high level of dedication to the principles of dignity and his concern for his fellow man are uncommon,” Richardson said. “John’s acts are selfless and sincere, confirming that he is devoted to the greater welfare of our community.”
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