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Fruitport Township Officers buy car seat for needy family

Posted by: Jennifer Gomori Posted date: April 29, 2015

— Excerpted from media reports

Two Fruitport Township Police Officers went the extra mile to help out a family in need instead of ticketing a driver for transporting an infant unrestrained. And one of those POLC Officers has been honored twice for saving someone’s life.

Officer HodgesLR

Photo courtesy of Fruitport Township Police Officer James Hodges

Officers James Hodges and Jason Pavlige were responding to a February call from a McDonald’s employee who reported a couple who came through the drive-thru service window with a baby unrestrained in an infant safety seat. The POLC Officers quickly located the couple and pulled over the vehicle. They found a 10-month-old baby sitting freely on her mother’s lap in the passenger seat of a car.

The officers could have given the driver a ticket, but instead they put their money together, and while Pavlige stayed with the family, Hodges went to the Wal-Mart on Sherman Boulevard and bought the family a car seat.

“Through roadside questioning, it was determined that the family did not have a car seat for the infant and did not have money to purchase one,” according to a written statement from Fruitport Township Public Safety Director Ken Doctor. “Several viable options were discussed regarding obtaining a car seat.”

Photo courtesy of Fruitport Township Police Officer Jason Pavlige

Photo courtesy of Fruitport Township Police
Officer Jason Pavlige

A Wal-Mart employee then alerted Doctor to the kind act by the officers. In a letter to the officers, Doctor said: “This certainly goes above and beyond what is expected of you in serving our community. It reflects the care and compassion of the officers serving Fruitport Township. Sincere thanks for representing our department so well and providing, great service to the community. Keep up the good work.”

The humble officers weren’t expecting any recognition.

“This is why you become a police officer … you’re here to help people, whether it’s buying them a car seat or just by talking to them,” Pavlige told Fox17 News. “We got that incident solved and we moved on to the next one.”

Hodges told Fox17 that the unidentified family had just moved to the area and didn’t have the funds to purchase a car seat, nor any friends or family in the area who could bring one to them. So, the officers took matters into their own hands by not only buying the car seat, but installing it in the family’s vehicle and giving them instructions on how to properly use it, ABC News reported.

“It’s just part of what police officers do on a daily basis,” Hodges told ABC News.

This isn’t the first time Pavlige has been recognized by his own department. The 10-year veteran received a life-saving award in 2009 from Police Chief Paul Smutz during a Fruitport Township Board meeting. Officer Pavlige and Grand Haven resident David Wingate Sr. each received the “life saving award” since both had administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a man who apparently had a heart attack Nov. 3, 2009 while golfing at Fruitport Golf Course, Smutz said.

Wingate noticed the man golfing ahead of him was “on the ground … and unresponsive,” Smutz said. He administered CPR until Pavlige arrived and took over the lifesaving efforts until medical personnel arrived.

“Consequently, this individual lived,” Smutz told the township board and the many people who attended the meeting.
This was not the first time Pavlige saved someone’s life. In 2007, he was honored for reviving a man who collapsed at The Lakes Mall, Smutz said.

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