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$8 donation from the homeless for Officer Seara Burton leads to ripple effect of kindness

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Posted at 7:17 PM, Sep 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-03 16:50:02-04

RICHMOND — It was an incredible act of kindness inspired by the relationship late Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton had with her community.

At Burton's funeral, Richmond Police Lieutenant Donnie Benedict shared a story from September 1 when someone walked into the police station and handed over a white envelope.

8 $1 bills for K-9 Officer Seara Burton

Four words were written on the envelope — "People from the Street".

Inside there were 8 one dollar bills. The anonymous donation was from the homeless community in Richmond.

"There have been many valuable gifts given in honor of Seara. However none, and I mean none, are more valuable than the gift of 8 $1 bills in a dirty white envelope," Benedict said on Monday.

That act of kindness has sparked a movement in Richmond. The community is now rallying behind the homeless population.

Amber Conley made a call out on Facebook asking for donations.

"Ask and you shall receive; we've got more donations in the last 12 hours than we have in the entire 3 days. It's been insane," Conley said. "It just touched me so I got on Facebook and asked if anyone knew who they were or where they were."

Conley said she received more donations than she could have imagined.

"They gave everything they had and they don't even know where their next meal is coming from," she said.

Benedict said Friday he was nearly speechless when he found out about the $8 donation.

"What do you say to it? I mean it's amazing that somebody decided to do that," he said.

The department decided to frame the gift rather than deposit it into the Officer Burton fund.

Benedict said that's because it shows the big impact Officer Burton had on the community she served for four years.

"That ninth dollar that is in this frame represents now the first dollar of the next dollar that will be given in honor of Seara," Benedict said.

Conley said she loves to see something positive coming out of the loss of Burton.

"If nothing else good comes from this horrible tragedy, it is the fact that this community has rallied behind our police officers [and] our homeless," Conley said.

They have collected enough donations to fill an entire room in the Richmond Fire Station — everything from blankets, coats, water, tents and more.

"Her mom told me that she would love this. She would love people helping people and reaching out," Conley said. "Everyone feels so hopeless and I feel like now that unfortunately Seara is gone this is the best legacy you could every leave behind is people showing kindness to the other citizens in honor of her."

The group will hand out donations next week and Officer Burton's family will be there to help.