Patches for Austin

Harlan middle schooler overcoming challenges with hopes of serving in the Air Force one day

    HARLAN – Austin Rhoads always has been drawn to law enforcement and the military – specifically the Air Force.
    As a youngster he has had a strong drive to be a police officer or pilot.  Part of a community in Roblox, he participates in role play games and has made friends with kids with similar interests, as well as current police officers and air personnel.
    He’s proud of his Blue Stripes jacket and masks he received as a reward for good behavior, and wears them proudly.
    So imagine his surprise and delight when on a recent trip to Washington, he was stopped by complete strangers who offered positive comments about his outfit.
    “One retired police officer gave both Austin and his autistic brother a patch,” said mom Stacy.  “Even through the mask you could see that face beaming from his eyes.
    “He made a comment that he wanted to have a collection for his room to display with his Air Force blues.”
    And that’s how Patches for Austin was born.
    “I wanted to do something special, just for him,” said Stacy.  “To see if I could get air personnel and police officers to send him some encouragement with a patch or a letter.”

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