Officer helps man, cats in temporarily stranded bus

An out-of-state man and his dozens of feline companions were back on their way Tuesday afternoon, thanks to the kindness of a Beloit officer.

Beloit police said the department received a report of a yellow bus  stalled out on the on-ramp a Beloit roadway; the vehicle had run out of fuel.

Beloit police Sgt. Mark Douglas said officers are often reluctant to be recognized for doing things that are nice. But when the department heard about how Officer Tom Halverson went out of his way to help a man who found himself out of money, food and gas and far from his home state of South Carolina, Douglas and others wanted to share the story of the officer’s generosity with the public, whom more often, and particularly lately, hear the negative side of police work.

In a post on Beloit police social media, Sgt. Ryan Flanagan said the department is “used to towing broken down vehicles, and we are used to dealing with animal issues,” but Tuesday’s incident was a bit different.

In responding to the stranded motorist call at about 4 p.m., Halverson, who has more than 15 years experience with BPD, learned the young bus driver was in need and didn’t have the funds to get back on the road. Douglas said Halverson paid for food for one man, 31 kitties and fuel for one big bus, helping the out-of-towners get back on their way. Douglas said the man was possibly headed to Minnesota; the bus departed west on Interstate 90.

“Officers do that kind of generosity every day,” Douglas said. “So no, it doesn’t surprise me. Officers from the Beloit area, and officers all over the nation, do stuff like this all the time and it just goes unrecognized.”

Beloit police shared photos of Halverson and animal control officers Bob Metz and Polly Richards outside the man’s bus Tuesday.

Metz and Richards stopped by the bus to check the welfare of the furry travelers, whom were well cared for and in good health, police said.

“When we found out about (Halverson’s good deed), we wanted to put it on Facebook,” Douglas said. “Because with this, I just thought other people should know about it.”

The police department and Halverson’s colleagues gave Halverson credit for going the extra mile Tuesday to help the travelers’ 126 feet (and several wheels) continue on for their extra miles.

“Officer Halverson certainly didn’t have to provide that funding out of his own pocket, but he helped to feed all 279 of those kitties’ happy little lives,” Flanagan wrote. “I’d like to give kudos to Officer Halverson and the ACO Metz and Richards for helping this man and his feline friends out.”

Flanagan and Douglas said Halverson’s good will is worth a good word.

I do too.

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Tabatha Wethal is part of the News 3 team working as a community reporter for since 2012.