NEW YORK — Daniel Brock, 17, has always wanted to be a police officer — and with a little help from officer Merritt Riley and the “With Arms Wide Open” organization, his dream came true Friday.
The South Carolina teen’s mom, Betty Mae Pound, originally posted on Facebook asking for police-related gifts for her son, who has Down syndrome. That post got the attention of the NYPD, who gave Daniel and his family a lot more than they initially asked for.
With Arms Wide Open flew the family from South Carolina to New York, rolling out the red carpet and giving Daniel every NYPD experience possible. The highlight: an opportunity to suit up in uniform and ride as a mounted police officer.
“You … just try to put a smile on a kid’s face,” Riley said.
His organization typically focuses on other police families, but there are times when Riley sees civilian families — like Daniel’s — in need and answers the call.
“I never dreamed it would lead to something like this,” Pound said, “and I still don’t know what we did to deserve it.”