(From left to right) Special operations officers Kenneth Lunger, and Officer Owen Phillips have made friends with Ms. Betty Clarke who has generously donated her time to support the police station on North Church Street ever since she moved to the neighborhood.
CLAYTON -- Without ever being asked, Betty Clarke, 71, took on the responsibility of caring for the police in her neighborhood when she first moved to North Church Street seven years ago. She was officially recognized for dedicated service on Wednesday.
“You’re certainly the unofficial mayor here,” police Chief Glen Allen told Clarke, who’s referred to in the department as Miss Betty, on Wednesday at the North Church Street station.
The community police officers in the neighborhood of Austin Acres and the police chief presented her with a framed letter of recognition.
In the letter of recognition, Miss Betty is referred to as the station’s “extended family.”
“They’ve blessed me by letting me come over here,” said Clarke. In the summer she plants flowers around the station, and year-round she brings food. A special embroidered plaque handmade by Miss Betty decorates one of the walls inside the police station. The plaque reads “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”
It was a grand day for her.
Dressed in a long red dress for the special ceremony, Clarke looked different than how she normally does.
“I’m used to seeing you in sweat pants, and carrying tools,” said officer Kenneth Lunger. She had never asked for recognition, but her works have not gone unnoticed.
She said her admiration for the work of police officers started at a young age.
“They’ve always been my heroes,”said Clarke. “Ever since I started reading Nancy Drew novels.” She said she is thankful for how peaceful and quiet they keep the neighborhood. Since she doesn’t work, she said she has enjoyed the opportunity to serve at the station.
On Wednesday, the chief went home with a jar of homemade pear preserves.
And Miss Betty took home her own reward.