Cary Police Officer Kathy Eiring meets all sorts of people on the job, but her favorites are the oldest ones.
"I love the elderly because, well, I just bond with them," she says.
Eiring, who is an elderly service officer with the department, has been building friendships and bridges between the police department and the senior community over the past eight years. Four years ago she became a certified ESO.
In her role, she educates seniors about scams and connects them with community resources. Eiring started programs like the Senior Citizen Safety Check Day for their autos, and she even helped a senior study for the driver's license renewal test. This summer, she was given special recognition by Attorney General Lisa Madigan for her "outstanding service to older citizens."
Ask any senior who knows her, and they will readily share their appreciation of her.
"She helps us, she comes and visits us, cautions us, gives speeches on scams and everything like that," says Vi Kozinski of Cary. "She's always looking out for us."
Eiring visits the Kraus Senior Center in Cary weekly, even on her days off. She tries to be a part of as many programs as possible as each one is an opportunity for seniors to voice their concerns. From simple things like a neighbor's loud music late at night to something major like a woman almost getting scammed by a false grandson, Eiring checks into it all for them.
"There's no words to describe how wonderful she is. And how lucky we are to have her. She's a gift," says Barbara Matson of Cary.
Eiring shares that the difficult part of being an ESO is when a senior passes away. "I'll get all choked up. Losing them is the hard part. But the best part is hearing their stories."
Jayne Anderson, senior coordinator for Kraus Senior Center, speaks highly of Eiring and her relationships with the seniors.
"I think my favorite thing about her is that she's a police officer. Her first responsibility very clearly is always being a police officer, have to be a little tough to be that," Anderson says, "But she's got a very, very soft side toward the seniors."
Eiring says she's drawn to the job because of how the seniors make her feel.
"When I walk into the room I'm told I'm beautiful, I get hugs and kisses from everyone, it makes me realize all the little stuff that get us down means absolutely nothing," she says, "They make me feel special and they show me how to appreciate life as it comes. I am so sincere, I truly enjoy them."