Posted March 18, 2013 9:39 a.m. CDT
Special agents from Union Pacific and BNSF teamed up to build a shadow box for a terminally ill, 7-year-old boy in Rustburg, Virginia, responding to his final wish to receive holiday cards from law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics.
UP Special Agents Trevor Benson and Tim Bockman learned about Nathan Norman, who is fighting cancer, via his "Wish Upon A Hero" website.
"We thought his request was very unselfish," Benson said. "We thought we could do one better and build him a shadow box."
Benson and Bockman included BNSF Railway Police Special Agents Scott Rust and Rene Munoz in their efforts, as the agents often work closely together.
Inside the black, glass-protected shadow box, the agents decided to represent each agency with a uniform shoulder patch, a tie pin and two Operation Lifesaver cross buck lapel pins. These items surround two personalized brass plaques.
The smaller plaque reads: "In Honor of Our Hero Nathan Norman #001," which Benson says symbolizes his courage in his fight with cancer and recognizes him as an honorary railroad police officer.
The second plaque states the Policeman's Prayer: "Lord, I ask for courage. Courage to face and conquer my own fears. Courage to take me where others will not go. I ask for strength. Strength of body to protect others and strength of spirit to lead others. I ask for dedication. Dedication to my community to keep it safe. Give me, Lord, concern for others who trust me and compassion for those who need me . . . and please, Lord, through it all be at my side."
Due to Nathan's medical condition, the agents were unable to personally deliver the shadow box and personalized card expressing the police departments' warmest wishes and deepest prayers. However, the items were mailed to the boy.
"Although a large component of our duties as police officers or Union Pacific special agents is to give back to our communities, this opportunity provided me with the ability to give back in a more personal way," Benson said. "Agent Tim Bockman and I followed Nathan via his website, and in a small way, it seemed we knew the person who was going to be affected. We knew what Nathan enjoyed, what he looked like and his plight, so for me, it was very personal."
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