BUTLER TWP — A dozen hard-boiled troopers at the Butler Barracks on Thursday were turned into grinning softies by the innocent kindness of a little girl.
Brooke Yost, 9, of Butler found she was short by about a dollar while attempting to buy some doughnut holes on Aug. 29 at the Sheetz convenience store at Route 68 and Meridian Road.
“I was standing in line and I didn't have enough money and I'm like, frozen,” said Brooke. “I didn't know what to do.”
Luckily for her, Trooper Chad Savannah was the next guy in line at the store and not thinking twice, reached into his wallet and plucked out the cash to pay for her snack.
That small act of kindness snowballed into an exchange of events between the police and the Yost family that culminated Thursday in an emotional ceremony of appreciation for Brooke at the barracks.
As she recalls it, after Brooke got in the car with her cup of doughnut holes she realized she hadn't at least partially reimbursed Savannah for the purchase with the money she had.
“So later that night, I decided to write a letter (to Savannah) saying thank you to him for giving me the money,” Brooke recalled.
Included in the letter was $20 from her parents, Dave and Beth Yost, for the troopers to donate to the charity of their choice.
About six weeks later, Brooke received a letter from the barracks thanking her for the donation and inviting her in for a tour.
Lt. Dan Hines, Troop D's patrol commander, and the other troopers were so touched by Brook's letter and donation that they went a step further and took up a collection for Brooke.
“A lot of us are parents,” Hines said, “and we hope that our own children have these traits and characteristics.”
So Hines decided to pay the family a visit.
“On Nov. 26, Lt. Hines came to our door and personally gave me a paper and $70,” Brooke said. “He said I can treat myself to something or donate some of it.”
Brooke said she treated her parents and sisters Rylee, 8, and Holly, 18 to dinner and used the remaining $20 to buy items for the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive.
Meanwhile, Hines was enjoying a meal at a local restaurant with other officers when he was approached by an employee.
“She said 'Lt. Hines? I'm Brooke's mother,'” recalled Hines.
Hines congratulated Yost on raising such a conscientious daughter and related how touched the troopers were with her letter and generosity.
In the course of the conversation with Yost, Hines learned that both parents work two jobs and Holly also works.
So Troop D Commanding Officer Steve Ignatz, Hines, Savannah and nine other troopers hosted the Yosts at the barracks on Thursday, where Brooke received a letter of commendation from Troop D plus several gift cards and presents.
A full story will appear in Friday's Butler Eagle.