KOKOMO — Jeremiah Derks received a gift from some unlikely friends on Tuesday. A beautiful surprise that was five months in the making.
"When Eddie said Indiana, I said it's a little far away isn't it?!" Detective Al Lopez, with the Jersey City Police Department, said.
Three police officers traveled from Jersey City, New Jersey to Kokomo, Indiana - with one mission in mind.
When they heard 12-year-old Jeremiah Dirks, who is battling a rare form of bone cancer, lost his dog, they wanted to help. The officers first learned about Derks when a local Kokomo police captain recruited help from officers across the country, to send their patches and hopefully lift his spirits.
The patch collection has grown immensely. Derks has received patches from all over the world, including Germany, France, and even Afghanistan. According to Derks' father, he has collected about 30,000 pieces.
"Being that Jeremiah is now one of our honorary detectives, he's part of our blue family, so we are going to do whatever it takes to help him through these difficult times," Detective Ed Dolan, with the Jersey City Police Department, said.
With the help of "Home for a Good Dog" rescue, the Jersey City detectives found the perfect match for Jeremiah and off they went.
Derks and his family are grateful for the support from law enforcement so far away, and today's gift being so unique.
"People say the dogs are your number one best friend, but I think they're family," Derks said.
Connections and friendships like these, Derks parents say, only inspire him and give him the strength to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer one day.