MORRILTON, Ark. (KTHV) — Five years ago on A Place To Call Home, we brought you the story of three children in foster care, two little boys and a baby girl. The Department of Human Services wanted badly to keep them together.
In 2018, they're still a family and one of the kids has received a special state award.
State Trooper Glen Bates couldn't think of anyone more deserving than Isaiah Oliver for the first-ever Arkansas State Police Junior State Trooper Award.
It's a testament to the families who answer the call for children in foster care and a reminder how important it is for law enforcement and all kids to establish healthy relationships early.
“Being a good person doesn't go unrecognized,” Bates said.
Some things have a way of coming full circle
“They were one, two, five and six years old,” Sandra Oliver said.
Already adoptive parents in 2013, the Olivers' household grew after THV11's Thanksgiving special featuring Isaiah, one of his brothers and sister. All three were at risk of being separated and needed a home.
“We were laying down getting ready to go to bed and my husband told me we had to adopt all three,” Oliver said. "I didn't even think, but said ok we're going to do this."
Fast forward to 2018, that leap created a big happy family with an admirable 8-year-old proving your past doesn't define your future.
“He is making history because of his servant's heart,” Sandra said.
Isaiah is a young leader leaving an impact wherever he goes.
Bates has a bond with all kids he meets through visiting South Conway County School District, but none quite like this one. He recalls the first time he met the award recipient.
“There's this one little boy standing there quietly, holding his hands, waiting for everyone else to stop talking so he can ask a question," Bates said. "And when he does I said hey what's your name, he said Isiah."
After only a few weeks, Bates knew there was no better candidate for the first-ever Junior State Trooper Award.
“He'll go to give someone a hug when they're crying. He hugs people and says 'I've been praying for you today,'” Oliver said.
Isaiah is proof second chances matter.
“We like to recognize people that embody our core values,” Bates said. "This kid is 8 years old, and you can see it in him."
Isaiah himself even told us about the kind of empathy he displays on a daily basis.
“When somebody's getting bullied, go stop the bully and make sure the other person is okay,” Isaiah said.
He wants everyone to know being nice is the new cool.
“It means so much in this day and society with so much going on, that a police officer and little boy can come together,” Oliver said. "But what's good about it also is one person is black and the other is white."
The Olivers have seven children altogether.
Bates did not know about Isaiah's past or upbringing when he decided Isaiah should win the award.