The big day finally arrived for William Knight III, as Bonney Lake’s first Chief For a Day officially received his badge as part of an Aug. 16 event at CenturyLink Field and the Criminal Justice Training Center in Burien.
But according to Bonney Lake Interim Police Chief Dana Powers, the 7-year-old chief was most excited to get out to the bike rodeo and show his stuff on the course.
“He couldn’t wait,” Powers said. “We pretty much had to peel him off the bike!”
The day began at the Bonney Lake Public Safety Building, where Knight headed out with Powers and his family joined other members of the staff on their way to CenturyLink Filed in Seattle, where all of the “Little Chiefs” and their supporting agencies gathered. The kids also got to meet a few of the Seattle Sounders players and pose with Blitz, the Seahawks mascot.
After a light breakfast, Knight and the rest of his honorees joined a motorcade of about 100 vehicles that made its way to Burien.
Powers said during the trip, she explained to Knight that the while the cars would stay in a designated lane, the motorcycles would zip by the procession on the right to get ahead and close the next intersection for the motorcade.
“His eyes were these big saucers and his head was on a swivel going ‘wow!'” Powers said of Knight as the bikes went by.
At the main event in Burien, Knight received his badge, pinned on him by Powers, and certificate officially naming him Bonney Lake’s Chief For a Day.
After lunch, the Little Chiefs received all the toys/gifts that we had purchased for them with money collected by the police department.
The Bonney Lake department raised about $2,500 for the Knights, according to Administrative Assistant Lousie Emry, who was instrumental in getting Bonney lake involved.
Along with a pile of toys and games and other things, the department also provided the family with gift cards and a check for $1,350.
The Little Chiefs were also able to see and participate in many demonstrations including SWAT trucks and teams, a Fire Department truck, horses and pony rides, bomb unit, bicycle units and a bicycle kid’s course, State Patrol units, Sea Tac Airport Fire/Rescue truck.
According to Powers, Knight even had an opportunity to give the commands during a canine demonstration.
Powers said the Bonney Lake Department gained nearly as much out of the program as the Knights.
“It gets back to the simplistic meaning of why many of us got into this business in the first place: to help others and to serve,” she said.
The program, sponsored by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, celebrates the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening conditions. Bonney Lake was one of 27 police agencies around the state participating this year.
Knight, who begins third grade at Emerald Hill Elementary School this fall, was born several months premature and was diagnosed as missing one of the four valves in the heart that helps control blood flow.
As a baby, Knight had surgery to install a replacement valve, which needs to be replaced as he grows. To date, he has had four surgeries, two of which were open-heart surgeries, including the most recent in November.
According to his parents, the valve installed in October is expected to last several years and Knight was given a clean bill of health at his most recent checkup.
This was the first year Bonney Lake participated int he program. Powers said the department will review what they did and how they could do it differently, but she fully expects Bonney Lake to participate the next time the program is run in two years.