PRICHARD, Ala. (WKRG) — For the month of March, WKRG News 5 honors a former Prichard Police Officer with our Smiles Behind the Shield Award. Officer Matt Parker took his own time, making a difference on a difficult day for the Huggins Family.

The reunion between Officer Parker and Brenda Huggins was quite the surprise. Brenda explained why she reached out to WKRG News 5 with her email nomination. She said, “He came to my house [at] like six o’clock one morning because my husband had passed away.”

Brenda and her husband Terry had been married since 1985. When he didn’t wake up that morning, she called for help.

Brenda said, “He could’ve been in and out of there in 10 or 15 minutes, but he stayed on his own time and was very consoling to all of us and he just shared stories with us and talked with us and let us share stories with him.”

Officer Parker was supposed to be getting off of work and didn’t have to stay, but he chose to spend his time with the Huggins family. Brenda, her daughter, and her son all made a lasting connection with Officer Parker that day.

Brenda said, “My son spent some time showing him some of my husband’s collections that he liked to have, and my daughter told him some Annie Oakley stories where we teased her with being Annie Oakley… All in all, officer parker just made a world of difference in such a morning that could’ve been so sad.”

This is part of the email Brenda Huggins sent to WKRG News 5 nominating Officer Parker:

“Saturday, 1/29, my husband passed away in his sleep. Officer Parker was due to end his shift at 5:30am and he got the call at approximately 5:20am. He came to my house and was so comforting to me and our two children. He stayed with us on his own personal time for about two hours. He shared stories with us and we shared stories with him. He was truly a blessing sent to us from above in such a devastating time. He will probably never know how much that meant to me, but I would love for you to help me get the message to him.”

Brenda Huggins

When WKRG News 5 received Brenda’s nomination, we knew we needed to stage a reunion.

Brenda told us how she felt seeing Officer Parker for the first time since that day. She said, “I was joyous to see him again. It brought back a lot of memories from that morning and it just warmed my heart to see him again.”

We were a little surprised to find out that the day of the surprise was also Officer Parker’s last day at Prichard Police, but don’t worry he’s not leaving law enforcement, he’s moving to Chickasaw Police.

Brenda said, “He’s going to serve no matter what, no matter where he works, he will be serving the public.”

Officer Parker’s selfless act of going above and beyond the call of duty is why we honor him with our Smiles Behind the Shield Award.