Dozens of law enforcement officers from several St. Louis-area jurisdictions turned out in front of Kehrs Mill Elementary School on Monday morning to escort the son of an ailing officer to his first day of school.
Kehrs Mill Principal Beth Sciarratta said it was a gesture characteristic of the support she sees in her school community.
"The police officers, a family in blue, decided they were all going to step in and help walk this boy to school," said Sciarratta. "It's such a wonderful example of community involvement and made it a special day for Carmine."
Carmine's dad, Woodson Terrace Police Sgt. Andy Mattaline, has been hospitalized recently.
"Sgt. Andy Mattaline is having some health issues that are preventing him from walking his son to his first day of kindergarten," said Chesterfield Police Officer Chris Kaatmann. "That's a big event in any parent's life, so a group of us who has worked with him for years decided to honor him and be here to walk Carmine to school on his first day. Andy's my best friend, and he's one of the most selfless, caring individuals any of us have ever met."
Kaatmann and others helped organize the effort. Then, right before it happened, they learned Andy would be able to be there.
"That was a pretty special surprise," said Kaatmann. "We had word that it was a possibility but we didn't know about it until the last minute."
Kaatmann reacted to the turnout.
"Some of these people in uniform don't even know Andy," said Kaatmann. "Regardless of the fact that we're law enforcement officers, this group of people would have been out here to support a good person like Andy."
Sgt. Mattaline responded to the support he and his family are being shown.