VICTORVILLE, Calif. (KABC) -- A simple request for a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department patch turned into a mission for Deputy Meagan Forsberg after the father of a 14-year-old boy with autism reached out to her.
"He came across my Instagram and said, 'Would you be willing to send him a patch from your agency?' I said, 'Absolutely, let me reach out to a few of my friends on social media and see if we could get a little care package going,'" said Forsberg.
In the three weeks since Forsberg reached out to her 34,000 Instagram followers, she's received dozens of patches, coins and lapel pins.
"I've gotten stuff from all over the world, from Australia... Royal Air Force, to our local agencies," she said.
Kenny Lauffer Jr. is the child.
Lauffer lives in Lockport, New York just outside of Buffalo and loves all things to do with law enforcement, military and fire departments.
The junior volunteer firefighter began collecting patches when his grandfather gave him his first one.
"I feel like it's awesome. I think it is going to be really cool to look at it," said Lauffer via FaceTime.
His father said he wrote to Forsberg hoping to add a few more patches from California to his son's collection but never expected the outpouring of kindness.
It comes at a much-needed time as Kenny's mom undergoes treatment for breast cancer.
"I am in absolute awe as a father trying to do something for my son. Her act of kindness left me in shock you know," said Ken Lauffer Sr.
Forsberg has received 272 patches so far, but wants to add one more patch to her department and Kenny's collection after talking to a colleague.
"He received a patch from Alameda County for Autism Awareness and we were talking why don't we do something like that for our department?" said Forsberg. "We are going to pitch an Autism Awareness patch to our Board of Chiefs here soon."
It's an idea that Kenny's father hopes will raise awareness about the challenges of autism. He points to the Facebook Group 'Auggie's Hope' out of Oregon. He says the group of first responders all have children on the spectrum and are teaching others to compassionately treat patients with autism in the field .
This weekend, Forsberg says she will mail Kenny his treasure trove of patches that will keep him busy for a while. The teen says he likes to look at each patch and learn about the work associated with each of them.
"He loves what we do. He loves public safety, military all of it. So, he wants to collect patches to support us," said Forsberg.
If you'd like to send a state, federal or international patch to Kenny. you can send it to:
Deputy Meagan Forsberg
8018 SVL Box
Victorville, CA 92395
Victorville deputy goes above and beyond by responding to request for patch
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