Sirens echoed across the campus of Liberty University Thursday as more than 100 police vehicles, blue lights ablaze, teemed to campus to bring hope and Christmas cheer to an ailing child.
Nathan Norman, 5, of Rustburg, Va., is suffering from brain and spinal cord cancer. He told his parents (both Liberty alumni) in September that Christmastime made him feel better, so they brought out the Christmas tree and decked the halls. Soon, neighbors joined in and put up their decorations. As the community rallied in support of Nathan, the story garnered national attention. Nathan received Christmas cards from across the country and even lit the tree atop Liberty Mountain in late October.
The news of Nathan’s touching story spread, and when police officers in Burlington, Mass., heard Nathan wanted cards from his heroes — police and firefighters — from all across the country, they decided to take it a step further and hand deliver their cards, letting their blue flashers serve as a special sort of Christmas lights.
As the convoy was organized, more and more departments from all across the Northeast wanted to join in and the event grew too large for them to do it in front of Nathan’s home, so organizers reached out to Liberty, which could provide the space because winter break had already started.
The line of police cruisers stretched three miles and represented several states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. There was even an officer from the Los Angeles Police Department who rode along. Liberty University Police Department managed the traffic for the event.
A hulking Lynchburg Fire engine awaited Nathan in the parking lot behind the LaHaye Ice Center as he arrived on campus with his family to watch the procession. Police car after police car drove by them, blaring the occasional siren and each was met with a heartwarming smile from the child.
After all the cars had passed and parked in the lot, more than 250 police officers, suited up in their dress uniforms, lined up in formation. Nathan, assisted by his siblings, called them to attention and, in unison, the officers saluted him. At his command, the officers danced on one foot before Nathan ordered them at ease.
Robert Norman, Nathan’s father, led the crowd in prayer. The officers then met in the Tilley Student Center for a private meet and greet with the family. There, the officers presented him with Christmas cards and gifts, including police coins and patches.
The Normans are very appreciative of all the support and gifts Nathan has received and see this as an opportunity to share their faith in Jesus with others. The family has utilized monetary donations they have received to deliver care packages to other sick children.