How sweet: Photo of boy hugging Euclid officer gets community attention

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EUCLID, Ohio – The actions of Euclid Community Policing Officer, George Panagiotou, often go unnoticed to the public. Panagiotou is known at Shoreview Elementary School in Euclid as ‘Officer George.’ He is one of the kids’ favorites.

“He went on a fishing trip with us and he kind of like helped us learn how to fish,” said fifth grader Brianna Bridges.

“When I first met him we were playing basketball,” remembered Khris’Sean Brown Vinson.

Early in the school year, a parent captured a student giving a hug to Officer George after getting dropped off for school.

“The kids, even when I’m having a slow or rough day I come out and I get to feed off the energy that those guys bring and it’s fantastic motivation because they’re so bubbly and they’re so excited and they just want someone to care about them just like we all do,” Panagiotou said.

The picture made its way to social media and got a lot of attention so parents, teachers, the police department and students decided they wanted to let Officer George know how much they appreciate him.

“We’re just very grateful for the efforts through our police department, through the students, the families that show their support, compassion,” said Sandra Webber with the school.

Friday, teachers and parents presented Officer George with a special framed copy of the picture of him and the student.

Officer George said when he looks at the picture he thinks of why he became a law enforcement officer to begin with.

“This is why we’re here. This is what we do our role is to serve these guys. Serve and protect, right? We’re here to be able to give these guys anything that they need and if that is a pick me up in the morning and an encouragement then it’s fantastic and if that happens to be laying down your life someone or doing something that’s not always fun or popular to keep them safe then that’s what we need to do,” Panagiotou said.

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