Officer buys barefoot homeless man pair of shoes: ‘I didn’t want to walk away and not do anything’
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POCATELLO — Pocatello Police Officer Kenny McClure says the decision to help a barefoot homeless man was a no-brainer.
And now the officer has been declared an “East Idaho Real Hero” by the American Red Cross for his kind actions.
It was a few days after Christmas and temperatures were freezing in the Gate City. McClure was working his regular shift driving around checking on homeless people.
“It was toward the end of my day. We had one last call and dispatch informed me of a report of a man walking down Yellowstone with no shoes on,” McClure recalls.
McClure found the man wearing filthy clothes and walking on freezing, snow-covered sidewalks without any shoes on.
“He said he was just passing through. I asked him where his shoes were because it was cold outside. He said he hadn’t had any shoes for a couple days,” McClure tells EastIdahoNews.com. “He just kind of wanted to get on his way but I was like, ‘I can’t just let you walk off without any shoes.'”
The man wore size 14 shoes – a size that is not easy to find.
McClure had the man wait inside his warm patrol car as the officer called shoe stores in the Pocatello/Chubbuck area.
Finally, a pair of size 14 shoes were located at ShopKo so McClure drove the homeless man to the store.
“He only had a little bit of money on him so I was like, ‘I’ll buy your shoes for you. It’s the least I can do,'” McClure says.
Once the shoes were secure, the man told McClure he was trying to get to Idaho Falls to buy a pair of boots at the Army Surplus store. McClure then drove him to the bus depot and purchased a Greyhound ticket so he could depart for Idaho Falls.
“He was grateful – especially when he was able to get some food down there at the bus stop,” McClure says.
The American Red Cross learned about McClure’s actions and honored him during a luncheon March 8 at the Hilton Garden Inn. He received the “Spirit of the Red Cross Award” – one of 11 awards handed out in a variety of categories.
McClure says he didn’t do this for any recognition or publicity – it was simply the right thing to do.
“I just wanted to help him,” McClure says. “I don’t think I could have gone home knowing that there was a guy out there I could have helped walking around barefoot.”