LIVINGSTON – The efforts by a 5-year-old Watson boy could someday mean the difference between life or death for two deputies from the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Levi Russell raised $2,700 for the purchase of bullet-proof vests for Deputy Katie Robbins and Lt. Ken McMorris.
He is the son of Megan Russel and Matthew Musser, and the grandson of Rose Russell and Brett Overton.
Levi, who attends South Live Oak Elementary School, raised the money through household chores that included anything from picking up his toys to helping his grandmother fold clothes.
He offered a simple reason behind his efforts for law enforcement officers.
“They’re my buddies and I want them to be safe,” he said during the presentation April 4 at the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The vests cost $3,000. The remaining $300 needed for the purchase came through a donation from former Baton Rouge City Police Chief Pat Englade, who now serves as president of the Capital Area Law Enforcement Foundation.
Levi learned at a young age about the dangerous work of law enforcement officers after the shooting of six law enforcement officers outside a Baton Rouge convenience store in 2016.
“I wanted them to be safe from gunfire,” Levi said.
He has also donated money to the Christmas Crusade coordinated by Sheriff Ard and his deputies to provide toys to children from underprivileged families.
A Christmas Crusade also gave him the opportunity to build a bond when he rode with McMorris during the delivery run. Levi has ridden with McMorris the last two years for the distribution.
Levi met McMorris during a 2017 Christmas Crusade donation drive at the Watson location of Walmart Supercenter.
“He showed up with a big bag of change he saved for the event, and it really warmed my heart,” McMorris said.
Levi met Robbins when she worked a car accident her first week on the road, where he gave her pretzel and a big hug.
The donation may have spared LPSO $3,000 in expenditures, but Levi’s gesture and love for law enforcement carry much more value, Sheriff Ard said.
“Our jobs are hard enough, but this is one of these things that give us a lot of hope,” he said. “It’s an awesome feeling and very positive impact for the community.”
Ard presented Levi a coin from the collection of only 200 minted for presentation to the parish’s special response team.
Levi did not hesitate when asked about his future.
“I want to be a police officer,” he said.
To support "Officer Levi's Quest for Vest," visit any location of Hancock/Whitney Bank. The account number is 0062349132.