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Pandemic rule followers rewarded in Canfield

CANFIELD — Wearing what has become a normal part of her outfits, 4-year-old June Carson didn’t think anything of donning her mask Friday.

When she walked into the Canfield Giant Eagle with Grandpa Steve Carson, June was met by Canfield officer Brett Modic, who thanked her for wearing her mask.

In return, she was handed a stuffed animal of the department’s police dog, Rocky, and a pass for a free tour of the department.

“I’m wearing dinosaurs,” she said of her mask. June said she wears a mask all the time in public.

The act of recognition is part of a new program stemming from the recently formed COVID Defense Task Force where people in Canfield are given a “flash recognition.”

When Gov. Mike DeWine called on mayors and local leaders to help found defense task forces, Canfield jumped on board.

Since its inception, subcommittees have been formed, with one being the recognition committee, headed by police Chief Chuck Colucci.

One of the members is Canfield resident Frank Micchia.

Micchia said the team assembled and quickly brainstormed ways to recognize citizens wearing masks.

“We kicked around several ideas,” he said, ultimately deciding on a certificate, police dog stuffed animal and a Dairy Queen ice cream cone voucher.

As a community member, Micchia said he notices most people wearing masks, like when he runs to Giant Eagle.

Kenneth Goss, senior store leader, said the store has been proud to serve the community during the pandemic, while practicing health guidelines.

After receiving the award, Goss said the store continues to do its part to help everyone remain safe.

Colucci said when the opportunity is appropriate, the department has been recognizing community members for wearing masks in public and keeping a distance.

“Our officers, they don’t just patrol. They go into businesses all the time, and when they see someone wearing a mask they’ll thank them,” he said.

Local bakery Kim’s Confections also was recognized on Friday.

“I’ve never gotten an award for washing my hands before,” said Kim Hoover, the bakery owner, laughing as Modic handed her a framed certificate and her own Rocky doll.

“We all have to get through it,” Hoover said.

She’s owned the bakery on Lisbon Street for six years, and had to close shop for four months last year. Still, she said she hasn’t had resistance from her patrons, noting everyone wears their mask and is respectful of space.

“Support of the community has been helpful,” Hoover said. “A lot of people have rallied behind us because they want to support local business.”

A quick video and photos are posted to the police department’s social media page to celebrate the community.

“If we can just promote the positivity of going along with the mask mandates and social distancing rather than penalizing people for not complying,” people will likely recognize the benefits of those practices, Sgt. Josh Wells said. “As word keeps getting to us about different businesses, we can take opportunities to recognize.”

afox@tribtoday.com

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