Today, Kolton Hessman’s parents traveled from Tennessee to Boston to thank the men and women of the Boston Police Academy for the kindness and compassion shown during Kolton’s search for a heart transplant. BPD Academy Instructor Officer Kevin Welsh first came across 3-year-old Kolton’s fight against Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) while browsing Facebook in December 2016. Officer Welsh instantly felt connected to little Kolton who was pictured in a miniature SWAT uniform, and he reached out to the family by sending BPD patches and a gift bag. Over the next few weeks, Officer Welsh and BPD Academy Class 56-16 formed a strong long-distance friendship with Kolton and his family, making it their mission to find him a compatible donor and bring awareness to this disease and the need for transplant donors.
Sadly, Kolton lost his battle with CHD in January 2017 while waiting for an organ donor. But today, young Kolton’s strength and courage were celebrated and honored during a ceremony in which Kolton was posthumously made an official Boston Police Officer. Officer Welsh and BPD Academy Class 56-16, along with Boston Police Commissioner William Evans presented plaques and Kolton’s badge to Kolton’s parents. The Academy Class even set up a memorial for Kolton in a display case in the front entrance of the Academy. Said Kolton’s father, Grant Hessman, “They’ve rallied behind us since day one and haven’t stopped. We live in Tennessee and to have this kind of support from this far away is phenomenal.” It just goes to show that when it comes to community policing, for the men and women of the BPD, our community knows no bounds.