John Hicks is a master juggler.
When he’s not working as a constable with the Chatham-Kent Police Service, he is often hard at work helping others.
Such compassion earned Hicks the Community Service/Humanitarian Award from the Chatham Municipal I.O.D.E. Chapter recently.
To some, the long hours and odd shifts of policing make it difficult to commit to much else. But to Hicks, the long periods of down time work out just fine.
“Four (days) on, four off – we’re able to make accommodations a lot of people can’t as far as getting days off during the week to work on projects. I think it affords me time to do service work. As much as I can, I get involved in the community,” he said. “It’s a double edge, though, as you may not be able to help on a weekend.”
Hicks is a veteran police officer, with more than 25 years on the job. He started with the Wallaceburg Police Service in 1990. While with the CKPS, Hicks has worked in many areas of policing, including general patrol, criminal investigations, and in mental health interdiction (HELP Team).
He has also been on two peacekeeping missions abroad, first as a member of the armed forces to Cyprus in 1989-90, and later as a member of the war crimes investigation unit to Kosovo from 2001-02.
Name a cause or a need, and chances are Hicks has been involved.
From the Canadian Cancer Society, Tim Hortons Camp Days, Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Outreach for Hunger, Teen Challenge Farm (an addiction recovery program for young men), Eastside Pride, and various local soup kitchens, Hicks has helped.
But his giving goes beyond our borders. Hicks has done Missionary work in Honduras and India through Praise Fellowship Church.
“I’ve been able to go abroad and travel through work assignments and through my church,” he said. “I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I’ve travelled with my pastor (Michael Koppes). I like to be led by the spirit. There is so much need out there.”
Hicks said his travels to India will stay with him forever.
“Going to India for three weeks travelling around the villages was life changing. The People are so happy with what they have, and they have so little,” he said.
While in India, Hicks worked with orphans and lepers.
“Just to give them a hug and let them know they’re loved. It was quite a trip,” he said.
Koppes is not only Hicks’ pastor, but also a police chaplain, and, more importantly, the man who saved Hicks’ life in 2012.
While paired up for a patrol in Wallaceburg, Koppes noticed abnormal behaviour from Hicks, recognizing the signs of stroke.
Hicks said had Koppes not been with him, he doubts he would be alive, as he would not have realized the severity of the illness and gone to hospital so quickly.
“I’ve been blessed. The Lord’s taken care of me,” he said.
And Hicks, in turn, has helped take care of countless others.