ST. CLOUD, Fla. - Dozens of police officers, firefighters and community members came together Monday at a St. Cloud grocery store to say happy birthday to the daughter of a Kissimmee police officer who was killed in the line of duty Friday.
The group surprised Unique Howard, who turned 17 Monday, as she walked in for her shift, singing “Happy Birthday” and presenting her with a cake.
“It’s about time, you know, people see that law enforcement and everything is not all bad,” said Brian Farrar, Sgt. Sam Howard’s neighbor.
The surprise celebration came two days after Sam Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter were gunned down as they responded to a call in Kissimmee.
“Even though Sgt. Howard isn’t with us anymore, they’re very proud that the rest of law enforcement is going to stand with them,” Kissimmee Officer James Napier said.
Resident Eloease Aponte said she was moved by the gesture and was glad Unique had so many people around to support her.
“Even though she lost a dad, she gained many other dads,” Aponte said.
Napier reiterated the sentiment, saying Unique’s law enforcement family would always be there for her.
“We are all here to protect her,” Napier said. “She will not cry alone. She will not suffer alone. We’re here with her and we’ll always be with her.”
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