CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - A 7-year-old's birthday party is filled with balloons, cake, and lots of presents ... right?
Not in the case of Adaire Hargroder. Nope! She wanted to be the one to GIVE the presents at her own party, not receive them.
"Well, it started last year when she wanted to have a cheetah party," Adaire's mom Kellie told me. "And so, instead of presents, she wanted to give to the cheetahs. So, we gave to the Baton Rouge Zoo."
"And so, this year she wanted an American Ninja Warrior party. And, we're like, 'So, who are the real American Ninja Warriors?' And, she was like, 'Police officers! They save us and they're like ninjas. They protect us.' And so, that's how that came to be," Kellie added.
Adaire wanted all her birthday party guests to donate on her behalf to CALEF, the Capital Area Law Enforcement Fund, to purchase ballistic vests for law enforcement personnel in our area.
What exactly did you want your friends to do?
"I wanted them to donate to the police," she said.
For what reason?
"So they can get these bullet-proof vests, so they can stay alive if their daughter or kid is worried," she replied.
Wow. What a remarkable young lady.
You can donate to CALEF and help purchase ballistic vests for law enforcement in Adaire's name. Just visit: https://calef.la/.
Adaire's father, Brian Hargroder, is the head basketball coach at Central High School. The deputy on-duty at Central is Cpl. John Simoneaux. So, in keeping with the theme of Adaire's party, Brian asked Cpl. Simoneaux if he would mind coming to the party in his squad car.
"It was a no-brainer; I took off a half a day of work from one of my details; I wanted to make sure I was there for that moment to see that happen," said Simoneaux. "And, it was quite an event. I went dressed in uniform and didn't know what to expect. But the kids had a great time and it was quite a show."
Simoneaux even brought Adaire a homemade wooden "blue line" flag as a special gift.
"This is a special gift," Simoneaux told Adaire as he knelt down to present her with the wooden flag. "A special man gave this to me. And he told me there'd be one day that I would give it to somebody special and pass it on. This is for you. You can hang this on your wall and you'll always remember your birthday party. OK?"
"Thank you," Adaire shyly replied.
"You're welcome. You know what that is? It's the blue line flag," Simoneaux added.
But wait. The surprise wasn't over.
Back inside, with WAFB's cameras following him, Simoneaux presented Adaire with our Hand It On gift of $300 cash.
"I'm here on behalf of Johnny and WAFB and Hand It On. And you have won this week's Hand It On award. And we're going to give you $300 to do whatever you would like with," Simoneaux explained.
An extremely excited Adaire accepted the cash.
"Wow! Thank you," Adaire exclaimed.
"You're welcome. You're welcome. Keep doing what you're doing because you definitely put a smile on a lot of people and you've inspired a whole lot of people. You're an inspiration to everybody who've come in contact with you," Simoneaux told the little girl.
Adaire took the money to show her mom.
"That's yours, Adaire. What are you going to do with all that money?" Kellie, her mom, asked.
"Buy more bullet-proof vests!" Adaire proudly said without hesitation and with a huge grin on her face.
If you'd like to nominate someone for Hand It On, send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com.
Make sure to include your contact information, especially your phone number.