Earlier in the summer, the Worthington Christian High School alumni newsletter included a story about Joshua Howard, a graduate who was also served on the pastoral staff at Movement Church, a Charis Fellowship congregation in Hilliard, Ohio (Mark Artrip, lead pastor). A portion of the story appears below. Click here to read the complete article. (Worthington Christian High School is a ministry of Grace Polaris Church, Westerville, Ohio, Mike Yoder, lead pastor.)
Police Officer’s Commitment to Homeless Family Sparks Several Acts of Community Kindness in Hilliard
During last December’s hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, Hilliard police officer Joshua Howard (WC ’09) was able to give an area homeless family the most important gift: survival. Howard was recently given the Hilliard American Legion Law Officer of the Year award for his on-and off-duty efforts to help a family of three.
“It wasn’t anything I was expecting. I didn’t want any acknowledgment,” said Howard who was nominated for the award by former Chief of Police Robert Fisher prior to his retirement. “The really cool thing about this is how the community came together.
“I just felt like I was used as a vessel to help facilitate that. It has been kind of a cool experience to see how God worked through others to help this family.”
It started out as a routine call on the third shift. Howard and Officer Sam DiSaia responded to a report of someone living out of a car in a Target parking lot.
Upon further investigation, Howard learned it was a mother, who had lost her job and then later her house during the pandemic, and her two young children who were living out of the car. The two children were attending school virtually and required constant supervision, which prevented the mother from looking for a new job.
Rather than taking them to a shelter, Howard and DiSaia took the family to a nearby hotel and the officers split the cost for a night’s stay.
“When I got home that night, I told my wife Ashley about it and she said she felt they should do a little bit more,” Howard said. “I said I don’t know where they are now. We just paid for that one night.” …
Opportunities like this one are the reason why Howard became a police officer. Howard was a pastor in the Hilliard community and helped start the Movement Church in the suburb. After six years, he decided to go for what seems like a radical career shift. At first, he planned on becoming a chaplain for the police force but having gone through training to become a policeman and seeing the need for officers in Hilliard shifted his focus.
Being a pastor and being a police officer have some similarities, according to Howard.
“Being a policeman is being called to be a light to the people in the community and to my own co-workers,” Howard said. “There’s definitely a ministry here too.
“As a police officer, you’re often dealing with people on the worst day of their lives. That’s one of the reasons I felt called to be a cop: I could meet people where they are in their lives when they are completely broken. They might be just arrested, or they could be the victim of a crime.”
Although he didn’t want publicity for his work with the homeless family, Howard said it was nice for the police force to be recognized for doing good.
Click here to read the complete article.