Oviedo school resource officer receives FOX 35 Care Force Award

FOX 35 Care Force is recognizing one officer going above and beyond the call of duty to help spread some holiday cheer.

Lawton Chiles Middle School Resource Officer Ashley Pierce has made it her mission every year for the past five years to organize a food drive for Thanksgiving baskets. This year, 45 families benefited from the generosity.

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, Pierce took over a storage closet at the school to assemble the baskets.

"It comes with everything needed to make a Thanksgiving meal, down to the frozen turkey, stuff to make green bean casseroles. We even have some families that will put recipe cards in there, so people will know how to make the meals that are in there," Pierce said.

Each year she sends out a flyer to school families and a sign-up sheet for items needed to make the Thanksgiving baskets.

"It’s not always necessarily a financial need," Pierce said. "Sometimes we have families that are experiencing cancer, experienced a death in the family, and I do this to try and take one thing off their plate and just alleviate that stress they have."

The baskets are then loaded up in cars for school families.

"We have a lot of families that without that help, they may not have a Thanksgiving dinner," School Administration Manager Dr. Tricia Bridges said. "So they’re very appreciative."

Oviedo Police Chief Dale Coleman said Pierce is known for taking action and often hears about her good deeds.

"She’s adopted this school and the immediate area as her family," Coleman said. "When there’s a need and there’s something that needs to get done, she is a go-to, get it done type of person."

"Whatever we can do as a community to help – Oviedo is really great about helping one another," Pierce said. "I’m really fortunate that they always come together to help our families."

While Thanksgiving has now passed, her work isn’t done yet. She also has a project planned for handing out gifts for Christmas.