Flagler Sheriff Appoints 8-year-old Deputy

PALM COAST, Fla. (January 2019): Even though Phillip Neal has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder affecting balance, movement and muscle tone, he doesn’t let it hold him back from wanting to be a police officer so he can, “catch the bad guys and eat doughnuts.” Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life-threatening illnesses, teamed up with Dunkin’ Donuts and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office where the 8-year-old would be appointed honorary deputy and find out that his dream would be coming true.

On the day of the big reveal, Phillip just thought he was playing dress up putting on a police officer costume. Instead, he was unknowingly being taken to Dunkin’ Donuts for the sweetest surprise!

Phillip and his grandma were greeted by Flagler County (FCSO) Sheriff Rick Staly who had big news for him. He first made Phillip an “honorary deputy” and gifted him an official FCSO uniform shirt. Dunkin Donuts sweetened his big day. He had fun decorating his own donuts with frostings and toppings, and they’re graciously giving their biggest donut fan free donuts for an entire year. And the best was still to come.

When Phillip opened up his box of donuts, it contained an extraordinary message from Kids Wish Network, revealing that they were granting his wish, sending him to Disney World!

Phillip had a stroke at birth, causing developmental delays and many challenges. He’s undergone a surgery on his right foot, and continues to receive occupational and physical therapies. “Phillip struggles so hard in school, and I want to see him happy,” said his grandma Cynthia who is raising him and his 3 siblings on her own. “He’s always asking when we can go to Disney World.”

His dream coming true will be a very special dose of happiness for Phillip’s family… it will be a magical time of family togetherness. “I’m so happy,” said Phillips grandma. “I want to have experiences with my grandbabies, and it’s something he’ll have for a lifetime and I got to share it with him.”

“I couldn’t have had a better role model for Phillip than Sheriff Rick Staly,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Tam Lai. “His genuine love for his community shows, taking time out of his busy schedule to personally become involved in making Phillip’s wish reveal so special.”

Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children with life-threatening conditions and struggling with life-altering situations. KWN provides trip expenses, meals, accommodations and additional spending monies to all wish families whenever traveling as applicable. Visit www.kidswishnetwork.org to learn about our different programs, and find out how you can help make dreams come true and sponsor a wish for a deserving child.


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