APOPKA, Fl. — Makayla Kepler does not let a law enforcement officer walk by without giving them a hug. But first, she hands them a rock.
- Makayla Kepler decorates rocks and gives them to police for encouragement
- The 10 year old has given these rocks to other law enforcement throughout the world
- She has received patches from police departments in return
“I love it when the officers get a big smile, and get all jumpy and giggly,” said the 10-year-old Apopka resident. “It’s fun.”
It has become increasingly popular for people to paint rocks and then place them out in the community as an anonymous gesture of good will. However, Kepler says she noticed something was missing.
“I felt like the officers were getting left out,” said Kepler.
With the help of her family, she began creating decorated rocks that say “Cops Rock.”
“I think it’s really amazing because they’re protecting their community and the people and their families,” said Kepler.
After handing out a few to officers near her home in Apopka, other law enforcement officers took notice.
“It kind of took off right from the start,” said Michael Kepler, Makayla’s father. “The police officers … they just light up, they love it.”
After recognizing the younger Kepler at a recent awards ceremony, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma gave Kepler a grand tour of the sheriff’s office.
She gave out several more of her rocks and got some hugs — and law-enforcement patches — in return.
“I have the Seminole County K-9 and the Seminole County patch, which is awesome,” the young girl said.
Kepler has given out hundreds of rocks to officers and deputies across Florida, and even some law enforcement officers in other parts of the world, and she has collected more than a jacket-full of patches.
“It’s a special, special feeling when someone as young as you, with the support of your family members and loved ones, come out and say thank you,” Lemma told Kepler on her recent visit.
Supporting law enforcement in this way also helps Kepler. She is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
“It makes me feel great. It makes me have a better day,” she said.
And it iss shaping her future. She wants to be a K-9 officer one day.
“So I can protect my country, and my city,” said Kepler.
“It’s for them and it’s for her, so as long as she wants to do it and as long as they continue to show us the love they have, we’ll keep going,” said Kepler’s father. “We won’t stop.”