BAUXITE, Ark. — School resource officers have a duty to protect all the students inside their buildings, but one SRO at Bauxite Middle School has made a unique friend along the way.
Max Bermingham, 13, has a rare genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome that causes developmental delays.
“He was only given a year to live when he was born, so to make it to 13 is just amazing,” Max’s mother Kristie explained.
While Kristie said her son’s future is uncertain, one thing is very clear — Max wants to be a police officer.
“His dream is to be a police officer, although he already thinks he is,” she said.
Max has bonded with Tim Green, the school resource officer at Bauxite Middle School. According to Kristie, the two are inseparable.
“In his eyes, he thinks he is his partner,” she said of Max’s feelings toward Green.
For Max’s 13th birthday, he asked the officer for a toy police car. Instead, Green joined with the Saline County Sheriff’s Office to give him something better.
Multiple law enforcement agencies surprised Max at school and made him an honorary deputy in front of his classmates and took him on a ride-along.
“He is my hero,” Green said. “They want to say all the time ‘You are Max’s hero.’ I’m not a hero. Max is the hero.”
The two spent the morning learning how to write tickets, practicing with the sirens and even calling for backup.
Much to Max’s surprise, agencies from across central Arkansas came to wish him a happy birthday.
“He is one of the reasons I get up every day,” Green said. “Just to see Max because he makes every day a blessing for each one of us.”
It’s a day Kristie also said she will never forget because sometimes the best gift of all is simply friendship.