A school resource officer (SRO) in Van Buren, Arkansas came to the aid of a young student in need last Monday. Nicol “Nick” Harvey, an officer at Central Elementary School, escorted eight-year-old Avey Cox to the school’s annual father-daughter dance. Cox tragically lost her father, Corey, last month, leaving her with no one to go to the dance with until Harvey stepped in.
Harvey, the father of three daughters himself, had always enjoyed taking them to the event when they were young. With his girls all grown up, Harvey was disappointed to think that his last father-daughter dance was behind him. “I didn’t think I’d ever get to experience it again,” he told TODAY.
Then, a request circulated to local SROs by Police Chief Jamie Hammond caught Harvey’s attention. The email suggested officers step in for children like Cox without fathers to escort them to the event.
“These are kids who don’t have a male model in their life and some [volunteers] were needed to serve as a ‘temporary dad’ for the event,” Harvey said, according to WKRN news. The officer took the idea to a school guidance counselor, who connected him with Cox’s family. After getting the okay from Cox and her mother, the date was set.
“It would be my first time, and I’ve actually been wanting to go,” Cox told WKRN.
A Night to Remember
Harvey went all out to make the event special for Cox. “I bought a new tie and handkerchief to match Avey’s dress,” Harvey told TODAY, “and I ordered a corsage.” Five other fathers from the community helped Harvey rent a Hummer limousine and provide a pizza dinner for the children before the dance.
“We spent time with her friends and other dads,” Harvey said, according to WKRN, “…and we danced like we just didn’t care.”
After the dance, the pair went out for ice cream with other dance attendees. “Another little girl that was with our party asked, ‘Is this your dad?’ and Avey said, ‘No, this is our school resource officer,’” Harvey recounted to TODAY. “I looked at Avey, and then I said, ‘Well, tonight I’m her dad.’”
Cox’s mom, Angelia Bernard, said the eight-year-old has been smiling since the night of the dance. “It was such a bright spot in the hard month we’ve had,” she told TODAY. “Avey keeps saying it was the best night ever.”
“It meant a lot because I actually got to go and see all my friends there,” Cox told WKRN, “and then I get to go with him and have a lot of fun.”