He has taken an oath to serve and protect.
He wants to make a difference in this world, and he wants to lead others on the path of goodness. So on Wednesday, Mayor Chris Martin and Logansport Police Department Assistant Chief Shawn Heishman made it a high priority to make Nolyn Kristopher Paul Woolever’s wish come true.
At just 7 years old – he’ll be 8 on Jan. 17 – he was sworn in as an honorary Logansport Police Department officer during the Logansport Board of Public Works and Safety meeting.
In his dress uniform, Nolyn clung to his mother, Samantha Pearson of Peru, as the oath was administered. Nolyn vowed to make his community a better place to live. And his mother has no doubt that he will succeed in his dream.
“He loves the police and he wants to be a cop someday,” she said.
Two days after being born, physicians diagnosed Nolyn with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) on the entire left side of his brain. According to Samantha, this means veins and arteries fused together, forming a ball 20 times the size the veins and arteries should have been. Over the course of Nolyn’s life, he has suffered strokes, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and liver failure.
He also battles cerebral palsy, which affects his ability to maintain posture, balance, and movement.
Samantha said her son has endured seven brain embolizations in an attempt to treat the abnormal blood vessels. Then, on Oct. 27, 2020, he underwent an angiogram for more AVM treatment as a way to prolong an aneurysm. Due to the access points being clotted from previous procedures, the angiogram was not successful.
Therefore, after careful consideration and weighing all options, this new police officer will face an extraordinary challenge. On Jan. 25, Nolyn will undergo an operation at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent in Indianapolis where a massive portion of the left side of his brain will be removed.
This risky surgery focuses on the motor cortex section of the brain, and Samantha said they do not know what to expect. He may walk, again; he may not.
So when one of Samantha’s co-workers learned of the surgery, and recognized the significance of the outcome, Imogene Sommers knew she had to help make a young boy’s wish come true. She asked her brother-in-law, Cpl. DJ Sommers of the LPD, to find out if he could give Nolyn a police patch that Nolyn could take with him to the hospital.
But DJ wasn’t going to just send the 7-year-old off with a patch. “What this kid has endured, and knowing what lies ahead, I felt like we had to do something more for him,” he said, choking back tears as he explained how he took an idea to LPD Chief Travis Yike.
It took Travis all of 20 seconds before he told DJ to do whatever he wanted.
And from there, plans snowballed into a day of excitement for Nolyn.
The mayor issued a proclamation, declaring Jan. 6, 2021 as the day the young boy was made part of the police department. He further asked the community to “lift this young boy up in prayer for strength, healing, and understanding through an illness as he endures yet another surgery in the upcoming weeks.”
After the swearing-in ceremony, Travis presented Nolyn with a police officer badge, a patch, a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team T-shirt, and a variety of other items necessary for an officer to properly perform his job duties. Then, in the coming weeks, the department will be taking part in a fund-raising campaign to help Samantha and Nolyn.
“She won’t be able to work for four to six months” following her son’s surgery, said Imogene.
This is a time to do something good, DJ said.
Travis agreed. “Some days, it’s hard to be a police officer. But today makes you want to be one, and to be one every day. This makes it special,” he said, holding back emotion. “Nolyn’s smile was priceless.”