Branson police, Hurts Donuts help law enforcement cancer victim's family

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BRANSON, Mo. Let's face it.

It's not unusual to see a police car at a doughnut shop.

"They go hand-in-hand don't they? Cops and doughnuts," said Branson Police Chief Jeff Matthews with a smile.

But on Friday Hurts Donuts in Branson was full of the city's finest all doing something they normally aren't allowed to do.

Sporting facial hair.

"In almost 35 years of being a police officer this is the first time I've had facial hair," Matthews pointed out.

"I don't know if it will happen again or not but it was a good cause and just about the whole department has beards now," added police officer Sean Barnwell.

That cause is to raise money for the family of Scott Britton, a long time law enforcement officer not only with Branson but the Greene Co. Sheriff''s Office and the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center. His family told us of his tireless efforts and devotion to his work, pointing out that he was most proud of helping solve the high-profile 2011 double murder of Rusty and Becky Porter in Willard.

But this year Britton was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on April Fools Day and passed away just seven months later on October 24 at age 46.

"He was super witty," said his daughter Emily. "He was a good dad and showed his support in any way he could. It was hard watching as nothing was working with his treatment and seeing him suffer. We're so happy that he's not suffering now and he's without pain and with God."

"He was the sunshine of the day," added his work partner Steve Dalton. "He never met a stranger. He had a passion for people and always treated them with dignity and was very respectful no matter what they might have done."

Family and friends are still coping with the numbness and disbelief of losing this devoted father. It's been less than a month since his passing and it will take time for everyone to get used to the "new normal" where the permanency of the loss will sink in.

But they're trying to keep his memory alive with those police officer beards and a Hurts special doughnut decorated in purple pancreatic cancer awareness ribbons.

"I met him back in the days when we were cruising Kearney," said Hurts Donut owner Shanna Dorlon who knew Scott from his days at Parkview High School.

Although she hadn't kept up with him over the years, she wanted to do something to help the family when she heard the news.

So she designed the doughnuts that were sold on Friday in his memory.

"In honor of Scott we have done a doughnut that is covered in yummy vanilla and chocolate icing and sugar and then it has a purple ribbon on that with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting his family."

The lines were long at Hurts on Friday and all of the public's outpouring of support has helped in the healing.

"It still hasn't really set in and I feel like there's a bit of a shock factor there but the support we've received has been never-ending," Emily said. "We are overwhelmed with everything we've received and we just want to say thank you to every officer and every single person that's come out today to show their love. It's just been so encouraging."

"One of the great things about being in law enforcement is that it is a family and we take care of our own," Matthews added.

But it has been difficult. Pancreatic cancer is among the most brutal illnesses with only nine percent of those diagnosed surviving five years.

"Typically you don't know you have it until you're seeing the symptoms of stage four," Matthews said.

"It's a tough disease to go through," Dalton said. "And to watch him go from the big guy that he was down to what he ended up was extremely hard. But I know he's out there looking over us and he will be in our hearts and minds from now on."

If you'd like to make a donation to the effort, you can call the Branson Police Department at 417-334-3300.