Ben Wagstaff is only 13 years old, but he already has a clear vision of what he wants to do with his life. The West Virginia teen hopes to one day have a career in law enforcement. He has a few years before he can don an official uniform, but Ben is already making a difference in an Ohio community. He just donated his four-year-old draft horse to the Columbus Division of Police, and police officers are incredibly grateful for his selfless contribution.
Two months ago, Ben started researching mounted police divisions in his general area. He raised his horse, Sam, from a colt, and he's always wanted him to do good within a community. Ben told ABC 6,
"I wanted him to reach his full potential (of) what he can be in his life."
After contacting a few police departments, Ben soon heard back from the Columbus Division of Police. The division's mounted patrol recently retired two horses, and Ben's message came at the perfect time. Sgt. Bob Forsythe from the Columbus Division of Police said,
"Normally we're looking for donations. We don't have people coming to us saying, 'Hey, we've got horses."
After meeting Ben and Sam, the division quickly determined Sam had great potential to be part of their mounted police division. Members of the Mounted Unit made the trip from Columbus to Ben's farm in West Virginia to transport Sam to his new home. It was a bittersweet moment for Ben to see his friend leave the farm, but it was the culmination of years of hard work. Ben's mother, Jessica Owens-Wagstaff, says she's especially proud of her son for accomplishing such an important goal. She said,
"It was his goal that he (Sam) could be more than just a farm horse. He's finally getting to see one of his dreams come true."
After a two and a half hour trip to Columbus, Sam will be introduced to his new barn and his fellow police horses. Once he's checked out by a vet and given time to acclimate to his new surroundings, he'll start training. Police say he'll need between 6 and 12 months of training before he can hit the streets as an official police horse. He'll need to be able to stay calm in stressful situations and be just as comfortable being pet by kids as he would be jumping into a riot.
Before they drove away with Sam, members of the Columbus police presented Ben with a t-shirt and their unit's "challenge coin." They also said Ben is welcome to visit Sam whenever he wants. Ben is confident Sam will be in good hands, and he's looking forward to seeing how his horse will one day serve the community. And when Sam eventually retires from duty, he'll get to return to Ben on his family farm.
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Featured image screenshot via Facebook/Columbus Division of Police