Louisiana Girl on a 'Mission of Love' to Hug Police Officers in All 50 States
Rosalyn Baldwin of Hammond, Louisiana, has set quite a lofty and ambitious goal for herself at the tender age of seven—she wants to spread love to police officers in every state of the country. And she plans to do it one hug at a time.
Fueled by the tragic shootings of police officers in Dallas and Louisiana last year, Baldwin set about her journey of appreciation at the nearby St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office in January 2017. As of November, Baldwin's unique road trip has allowed her to deliver hugs in the following Southern states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and, most recently, Texas. With 25 states already under belt, Baldwin plans to dispense more hugs in hopes that she'll make her final trek by 2019.
According to the TODAY Show, which highlighted Baldwin's tour of free hugs on Tuesday, November 14, this is just Baldwin's small way of saying "thank you" to police officers across the country.
Baldwin can only travel during holidays and school breaks, with her cross-country hugging trip mostly funded through donations on GoFundMe. To date, she's raised $8,740 of her $10,000 goal. Baldwin's purpose certainly comes through loud and clear in the mission statement her mother, Angie Baldwin, posted on the fundraising page:
"As Rosalyn learned of the heroic and sacrificial efforts of many law enforcement officers, her heart was moved to offer hugs to all the law enforcement officers that crossed her path. One day after church she said to us, 'I want to hug all of the police officers in every state. It's in my heart.' From these words, 'RosalynLoves' was birthed."
If you're wondering if something as small as a hug can really make a difference in improving the relationship and establishing trust between officers and the communities they serve, you only need to turn to Baldwin's hug recipients to find out.
One Houston, Texas, police chief said, "I think it all recharges our batteries."
The police department in Springfield, Missouri, also posted this message on Facebook after Baldwin's visit to their station:
Police officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, also pulled out all the stops for Baldwin when she came bearing gifts in the form of hugs. Not only was she treated to a motorcade, but she also got to ride in the police chopper.
"It's like medicine that rejuvenates us," said Major Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department. "People ask: 'Is a hug enough?' Well, yeah! Every little thing that we can get to help us do our jobs is beneficial."
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Track Rosalyn Baldwin's voyage to find out when she'll be delivering a hug near you and learn more about her "mission of love" on the site, rosalynloves.com.