Small-town spirit

Published 9:15 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Considering that it’s the fastest-growing city in Hampton Roads, it’s always refreshing — if not entirely surprising — when Suffolk feels like small-town America.

That feeling is overwhelmingly evident in the community’s response to the needs of a Suffolk police officer and his wife as the officer recuperates from massive injuries he sustained in an alleged ambush attack by a man he was chasing following a traffic stop earlier this month. In the hours following that attack, things looked grim, indeed, for Officer James Winslow, who was flown by helicopter to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and then rushed into emergency surgery.

Among the first people to realize and respond to the family’s need were, of course, fellow police officers and their families. While Officer Winslow was in surgery, other officers converged on the area where he’d been found unconscious and began what turned into an eight-hour manhunt, conducting themselves with the highest degree of professionalism in the course of their search.

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It is to be expected that Winslow’s law enforcement brethren would take a special interest in his status and in the apprehension of the man suspected of injuring him so severely. What’s even more heartwarming, though, is the special interest that regular folks in the community have taken in the days since the attack.

In a public display of that interest, a group of law enforcement spouses raised $6,000 for the family’s expenses at a bake sale in front of Lowe’s a couple of Saturdays ago. They received many donations of baked goods to sell, lots of “Keep the change” replies when folks bought their cookies and cakes and some very generous donations that enabled them to hold the sale in the first place and to contribute even more to the family’s relief once it was over.

That’s the kind of small-town spirit that makes Suffolk such a special place in Tidewater. And that’s the kind of spirit that makes Suffolk such a great place to live.