Wellington District Police officers deployed to Christchurch have adopted a World War II veteran, whom they found in the middle of the CBD cordon zone, walking amongst condemned buildings.
Lower Hutt Senior Sergeant Steve Harwood has recently returned from Christchurch, where he was second in charge of the first Wellington District rotation to Christchurch.
"I was working on a cordon near Victoria Street where engineers had just condemned the Pacific Brands building, due to the imminent risk of collapse. I was in the process of cordoning off the area and evacuating it when I noticed an army officer near the condemned building, escorting an elderly gentleman with a walking stick."
Steve says, "I drove up to the pair and helped the elderly man into the patrol car and it was then that I realised he was completely blind and unaware of the danger he had just faced. I asked what he'd had to eat since the earthquake and he said he'd only had a bag of chippies and an apple."
Over the following days whilst Steve was deployed he'd visit the 87 year old at his home, taking more supplies, and even some hot meals Police were supplied, care of Army staff.
Steve Harwood says, "In times such as this, where the earthquake destroyed so much, the one thing we could do as Police was look after people. We couldn't fix Christchurch, but we could make a difference one person at a time."
A welfare audit is to be carried out to ensure the ongoing safety and wellbeing of the elderly gentleman, however Wellington District staff deployed to Christchurch will continue to make regular visits, providing necessary supplies where they can.