Police lights shine across North Philly to show support for kids at Shriners Hospital

North Philadelphia glowing bright Wednesday night, with the lights of police cars lining the street outside Shriners Hospital for Children, just to put a smile on the young patients’ faces. The Wednesday evening event also holds special meaning for both the children and officers.

Philadelphia police from every district rushed to North Philly, while Broad Street completely shut down. A tactical helicopter flew overhead.

But, the police presence had nothing to do with crime.

Scores of Philly cops of all ranks stopped by to say good night and give a friendly wave to the patients recovering inside the hospital.

"Giving them a glimmer of hope, if you will and an opportunity to see that people care for them and care about them," Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner John Stanford said.

From the street the smiles, waves and blinking smartphone lights coming right back from patients and staff inside were plainly visible.

"Just to brighten one day, out of everything these children go through," Philadelphia Police Sgt. Michael Cerruti described their reasoning. "They are here for surgeries and things are very painful for them. And, just to take one day and brighten it for them."

16-year-old Clair Hoban has been in the hospital two months. Her dad is a New York City police detective and says all the support is definitely a hospital highlight. "It’s kind of like I have all the support and everyone is there for me," Clair said. "It means a lot that they are here to support us. And have our backs," added her mother Anna.

The Good Night Lights program is in its fifth year. The program was developed locally by Fraternal Order of Police Chaplain Father Steve Wetzel, who passed away earlier in 2022, following an illness. Wetzel was also founder of the FOP’s Micheal the Archangel Ministry program.

"The kids have flashlights and they are flashing the lights on us, to say good night to us. They are taking time to say hello to us. The connection is unbelievable," Cerruti added.

Although their illnesses may be severe, for a brief moment, they could forget about doctors, tests and hospital food and just be a kid and look at all the cool lights.

"The joy and, the smiles on their face – if you don’t leave here with a sense of gratitude, individually, there is something wrong with you," Dan Solecki, with Michael the Archangel Ministry, said.

Scenes of night lights were repeated as police show up in force at children’s hospitals across the country, to spread joy and wish kids a speedy recovery.