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Police Officer Takes Age 8 Girl to Father-Daughter Dance After Her Dad Dies Just Weeks Prior

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Before the high-stakes pressure of prom or the heartwarming staple that is the father-daughter dance at most weddings, there’s the daddy-daughter dances that many schools host for their young students.

These events are much-anticipated for many little girls, but for others it’s a reminder of loss.

Avey Cox, an 8-year-old from Van Buren, Arkansas, knew the dance was coming up, but she’d lost her father at the beginning of the year.

“They were very close,” Angelia Bernard, the girl’s mother, told NBC’s “Today.”

“Avey wanted to go to the dance but didn’t have anyone to take her.”

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At the same time as Avey was contemplating the sadness of the dance without having a dad to go with, there was a dad who was remembering how fun the daddy-daughter dances had been and how he had no one to go with since his kids were older.

That dad was 43-year-old school resource officer Nicol Harvey.

Thankfully, his chief made a suggestion that brought him and Avey together: Van Buren Police Department Chief Jamie Hammond recommended that his school resource officers see if they could sub in for missing fathers.

?We have the BEST School Resource Officers!? Nick Harvey and all of our SROs go above and beyond everyday for our…

Posted by Van Buren School District on Friday, February 14, 2020

And so Harvey was given Avey’s name by the school guidance counselor, and he set about to see if she and her mother were comfortable with him taking Avey to the dance.

“I reached out to the mother, the mother came said it was OK — because last thing I want to do is get rejected by a second-grader,” he explained to KFSM-TV. “So, her mom talked to her about it and the next day I formally asked her if she would be my date to the daddy/daughter dance.”

She said yes, so Harvey and five other dads started planning to go as a group, even pitching in to rent a limousine.

“I bought a new tie and handkerchief to match Avey’s dress and I ordered a corsage,” Harvey said. “Every time I saw her at school, she’d remind me of how many days it was until the dance.”

The dance was perfect, with a pizza dinner before, ice cream after and plenty of dancing and laughter.

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“I didn’t think I’d ever get to experience it again,” Harvey said. “It was nice to watch Avey just taking it all in.”

“Another little girl that was with our party asked, ‘Is this your dad?’ and Avey said, ‘No, this is our school resource officer,'” he added. “I looked at Avey, and then I said, ‘Well, tonight I’m her dad.'”

“I know she’s not my kid, but for a couple of hours it felt like she really was. I even get to twirl her,” he added.

“We’ve really become best friends through all this.”

Avey was thrilled to be able to participate after all, and according to her mother, she can’t stop talking about it.

“It was such a bright spot in the hard month we’ve had,” Bernard said. “Avey keeps saying it was the best night ever.”

“It meant a lot because I actually got to go see all my friends there and then I got to go with him and have a lot of fun,” Avey explained.

“We have the BEST School Resource Officers!” the Van Buren School District Facebook page shared on Friday.

“Nick Harvey and all of our SROs go above and beyond everyday for our students. Thank you to 5NEWS for highlighting the Van Buren Police Department School Resource Officers!”

On a final heartwarming note, according to KFSM-TV, Harvey says he’s willing to take Avey to any future daddy-daughter events she might be interested in.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking