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Officer inspired by his childhood to visit hospitals on Easter

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
April 6, 2012 at 10 p.m.
Updated April 5, 2012 at 11:06 p.m.

Victoria Police Department senior patrolman Eric Poulton delivers an Easter basket to Ethan Martinez, 5, who's being treated for pneumonia at DeTar Hospital North. Poulton began giving away baskets to hospitalized children three years ago.

Officer Eric Poulton spent half of his childhood in and out of hospitals. Although the scars went away, the 28-year-old Ganado native kept a memento to last him a lifetime.

"I got this bear in the hospital. I don't know who it came from, but I still hold onto it," he said.

Behind this senior patrol officer's steel badge, there is a soft heart for children.

Three years ago, he started going to the pediatric units at local hospitals to visit children.

The Victoria Police Department officers and staff made Good Friday a true one for some, with Easter baskets stuffed with coloring books, crayons, candy and bubbles.

"It's just our way of letting the community know we're thinking about them," said Joseph E. Felan, president of the Victoria Police Officer Association.

Brandy Doggett has been in DeTar Hospital North with her 4-month-old son, Liam, since Thursday. The mother of six was pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful gesture.

"It brightened my day to see them come around and to know they care," she said.

Poulton, who is a second-generation officer, said it's difficult for children and their families to be in the hospital, especially during the holidays.

To comfort the patients, he said "We may not be able to bring Easter, but we can bring you a basket."

Poulton hasn't named the program yet because he's still waiting to come up with a catchy name. It's more important for him to brighten someone's day.

Even as an adult, Poulton was hospitalized after suffering from heat stroke. He was 20 years old at the time and still thought it was cool to get gifts.

Although Poulton's newfound friends may not recall the Good Friday visit, he hopes they will have a keepsake from their encounter.

"They might not remember me, but hopefully, they would think it was cool an officer came to visit them," he said.



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