7-year-old Dakota Rinker continues his quest to thank local first responders

Local News

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Dakota Rinker is a 7-year-old boy who has a huge appreciation for local first responders.

He has so much admiration for them he has raised $2,300 through his Facebook page “thank you, officer, you are wonderful” project. To go to the page click

“I just love caring about the police officers,” Dakota said.  

With that money he raised from the community he has made 114 goodie bags for police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, and veterans.

18 News spoke with Elmira Police Chief Joe Kane about how much Dakota’s kindness means to him and his department.

It’s very it’s reassuring to us in times when not everybody supports the police and for someone, his age to really take that much initiative to put these bags together with so many thoughtful things.” Chief Kane said. “It gives us a little reassurance that people do care, and he’s just a special person.”

Dakota and his parents were greeted at the door by Chief Kane and Deputy Chief Anthony Alvernez who presented Dakota with honorary badges.

“We gave him an EPD patch. We also gave him the police Honor Guard patch and a crisis negotiating team patch. And I also gave him a challenge coin that represents the Elmira Police Department,” Chief Kane said.

Then Dakota hopped in the driver’s seat in an Elmira police car with Deputy Chief Alvernez.

Dakota also went to the Horseheads Fire Department to give the firefighters some goodie bags and give him a special note.

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