Beyond the Call: Opelika Police do yardwork for woman caring for sick husband


OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – An inspiring story takes us to east Alabama, where two Opelika Police officers are going beyond the call of duty to help a now widow clean up her overgrown yard.

‘Together Opelika’ isn’t just a saying printed on the back of their shirts. It’s a way of life for police Leuitenant Ben Blackburn and patrol officer Calvin New with the Opelika Police Department.

“It means everything to me; I try to help people as much as I can,” said Officer New.

July Fourth, Dianne Greene called the Opelika Police Department. She was upset about hearing fireworks, saying it wasn’t fair the city’s fireworks ordinance wasn’t being enforced while the city had warned her for her overgrown yard. Lt. Blackburn responded to the call and met Ms. Greene at her home, where he listened to her concerns.

“In speaking with Ms. Greene I learned, she was living with her husband at the time, who was very sick with cancer. She couldn’t take care of the yard because she was busy caring for him,” said Lt. Blackburn.

Greene says she was surprised when Lt. Blackburn offered to help clear up her yard on his day off.

“He said Thursday was his day off, and he would be back. That was on a Sunday night, and I thought, okay; but he did come back. It’s just been marvelous,” said Greene.

Lt. Blackburn spent most of the day cleaning out debris, cutting Green’s grass, edging, and cutting down overgrown limbs. He also fixed the couple’s riding lawnmower. Officer New wanted to help clear Green’s hillside facing the street. So the officer, his brother, and their cousin, Koy Sims, returned. Koy owns Sims Lawn Care in Auburn (334-734-3673) and used his equipment to clear out the brush.

“In this case, I knew I could take matters into my hands. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but it would make a big difference,” said Lt. Blackburn.

Greene has since lost her husband of 57-years. It’s been a difficult time, eased by the officer’s kindness.

“I’ve been truly honored to meet Ms. Greene. I am blessed to have her in my life now and look forward to a friendship with her,” said Lt. Blackburn.

The officers will continue to help Ms. Greene with her yard; if you own a landscaping business and want to donate time or materials to help her out, give the Opelika Police Department a call.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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