Ithaca police officer Anthony Augustine has seen plenty of support from the community after he was shot in the line of duty last fall. Now, he's giving some of that good will back to the people who can use it the most. Tamara Lindstrom tells us about a special donation and what the officer hopes it will achieve.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- It's a gift that came with a special meaning.
"When the police officers in our community are the ones that do this, you just can't put a price on that," said Travis Brooks, GIAC Program Administrator.
Ithaca Police Officer Anthony Augustine presented the donation to the kids at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center Thursday.
"I asked for a list of stuff the kids could use. They gave us a list, I went shopping and here it is," Augustine said.
After Augustine was shot and nearly killed by a suspect in October, the donations came streaming in. Donations he turned around and gave back to local youth.
"There are a lot of kids that come in and out of the building," Brooks said. "So a lot of money is spent on equipment. And there's not always a lot of money for new equipment, good equipment. Certainly not for things like tablets and laptops."
In all, the kids received about $5,000 worth of sports equipment, electronics, games and books. But today's visit served another very important purpose.
"I talked with a police officer. I thought it was cool," said GIAC participant Seneca Burrow, who said he'd never met a police officer before.
"I'm talking to police officers. They were so cool. They said. My name is someone," jokes GIAC participant Antwon McBean.
It's an encounter the grownups hope will have a lasting impression.
"When they're with their friends, when they're with their families and they're hearing things like 'don't speak to the police, the police are scary, the police are bad,'" Brooks said. "No, I met 16 officers the other day at GIAC and they were all really nice. They came and brought stuff. You've got to start somewhere. And the best place I've found to start with is little people."
"I'm hoping that instead of seeing kids that think that cops are bad people and cops are not friendly, I hope this influences them a little bit and they say 'you know, they did a nice thing for us. They do want to see us grow and benefit from things and be a success in the community," Augustine said.
A new attitude that starts with a handshake and a smile.
The Tompkins County Sheriff's Department, Ithaca Police and Cayuga Heights Police helped with the contribution, as well as some private organizations.
Augustine is still out of work recovering from his injuries.