One Tennessee family is extra thankful this year for the generosity they received from the Johnson City police officers who made it their mission to find the family shelter on one of the coldest nights of the year.
Tim Lejeune, along with his wife and three kids, had been living out of their car. On a night where temperatures dipped to 18 degrees, Lejeune turned to the Salvation Army for safe shelter for his family. He noticed they were flying a white flag which signals that the weather is so cold that all are welcome to stay. … Well, almost all. Lejeune’s 15-year-old son was told he wouldn’t be allowed to sleep in the building.
The Salvation Army has a policy that boys between the ages of 12 and 16 are not allowed to stay—they’re too old to sleep in the women’s shelter and too vulnerable to sleep in the men’s shelter with potential sex offenders.
Police officers’ then became involved in the family’s cause but their efforts to convince the Salvation Army to bend their rules were unsuccessful. Officers AD McElroy, Justin Jenkins, Toma Sparks, Robert McCurry and Washington County-Johnson City 911 dispatchers then pooled together money from their own pockets to pay for a hotel for the the family.
When the receptionist at the Johnson Inn realized what the officers were doing, they too joined in the giving spirit. The receptionist comped the room for the family which allowed the officers to spend the money on groceries for the family.
The Salvation Army says they are now considering a revision to their age restrictions.
Several days after this incident, the Salvation Army filled up the Lejeune’s car with gas. Meanwhile, the Good Samaritan Ministries helped to secure a permanent place for the family to live.