Springfield Police Department officer on well-being check takes homeless family shopping

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A humble servant of the people didn't want to be interviewed, but he was captured on camera helping a family in desperate need.

Nestled away in some woods in northeast Springfield, there are several people who call that area home. The City of Springfield has had to break up several homeless camps in recent years, but some have congregated in a new location. One such family says they believe their homelessness will be very temporary, but it was very nice to get some unexpected help this week.

A police officer's job is to protect and serve, but video captured by one driver shows an officer taking service to servant-hood.

"It was very helpful! And to know that like he was not just trying to get us out of here, but actually try to help us," explained a woman who would only identify herself as Kathleen. She says she and her husband, along with their five young children, have been homeless since Friday. She says they were unexpectedly kicked out of a relative's home. With no financial means other than her small waitressing money, she decided to tell her young kids they're going camping-- complete with tents and sleeping gear.

"I'm trying to keep everybody together so having somebody that understands my view of it and not wanting to separate everybody versus having those people who say do this, do that... when they ain't been in my shoes," Kathleen said.

When someone spotted them coming out of the woods, they called police. We found out it was Officer Tom Spence who responded-- a 15 year veteran of Springfield Police Department. Another passer-by then captured Spence taking the mom and her one teenager shopping at Walmart on his own dime.

"He got us water, wipes, bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away, a little bit of food items and stuff like that."

Officer Spence didn't want to be recognized at all, and would not agree to an interview. But Kathleen says he should be honored for his service-- because he showed up with kindness, respect and just the supplies they so desperately needed.

"Every little thing he did it-- you don't see that anymore."

Officer Spence called the Division of Family Services and they showed up while our KY3 News crew was there on Tuesday. Kathleen tells us state workers looked at this as a campsite, and do not plan to take her kids away, but rather they are trying to get money to get the family of 7 a bus ticket to Kansas City, where Kathleen says they have a place they can all live.