It was a simple thing SDPD Officer James Weaver did for the Buetow family, but on a day when Brettany Buetow's kids were saying goodbye to their Navy dad leaving on his first deployment, it was a big deal.
“I did not expect it at all” Brettany, whose husband has been in the Navy for six years, says. “It really meant a lot to our family and to the kids.”
Rileigh,4 and Austin, 2 were shouting goodbye across the water from Shelter Island as the USS Carl Vinson carried their dad, Josh Buetow, away on deployment Thursday.
Officer Weaver tells NBC 7 he noticed the children and thought he could help their little voices be heard.
“As I was sitting there,” he remembers, “I saw the family over here and the two little kids were by the rocks over here screaming to dad yelling bye and I figured that he couldn’t hear them cause I could barely hear them from across the parking lot, so I just pulled my car over and asked if they wanted to use the PA.”
Brettany posted two photos of the kids using the PA to say goodbye to their dad along with a post that read: “Shout out to the San Diego Police Officer who pulled up next to us and asked if Rileigh and Austin wanted to tell their daddy they loved him as his ship went by, leaving for deployment. They got to speak into the microphone and say, ‘bye daddy, we love you!!’ I am so grateful for ALL of the men and women in uniform who serve and protect our country!”
Within two days the post had been shared hundreds of times and was liked nearly 1,000 times.
Officer Weaver, who says kids around the same age as Buetow’s, says he’s surprised by the response to his act of kindness.
“As blown up as it’s getting and going viral and everything I never expected that,” he admits. “ I just thought I’d come over and try and let a couple of kids say bye to their dad. All of a sudden it made the news and we’re here doing interviews, so it’s definitely a memorable moment.”
Brettany says she was surprised and deeply moved by the officer’s actions.
“It meant a lot to us,” she tells NBC 7. “I was holding it together pretty well until he asked them if they wanted to do that and I just slowly broke down and started crying.”
Brettany, who also has a three-month old son with her husband, says they hope to have Josh home by the summer.
Chipotle in Mission Valley will hold a fundraiser on January 18 to support the families of the USS Carl Vinson. Half of the money raised will go toward halfway and homecoming parties for the families.