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Grandma unit officer gets special visit from Charleston police

Loretta Epling holds the presents Charleston police officers gave her Thursday. (Charleston Police Department Community Services)

Charleston police officers popped into the hospital Thursday to visit a woman whose health has been failing in recent months.

Loretta Epling is blind and hospitalized with stomach issues.

As captured on video posted to the Charleston Police Department Community Services Facebook page, the visit lifted Epling's spirits and made a police officer across the country break into tears.

"I'm not ashamed to say it," officer Dwayne Epling said. "I cried for 20 minutes -- tears of joy."

Dwayne is Loretta's son and a Jicarilla Apache Police officer in New Mexico.

He said when members of the Charleston Police Department gave his mother a K-9 stuffed animal present they had no idea he was a K-9 officer and pastor.

"They gathered around my mom, held hands and prayed," he said.

Loretta has been part of the Charleston Police Department's grandma unit since it came together.

The group does a lot, from hand out free hugs to informing police on crime.

She hasn't gotten to participate lately because of her health problems.

"No matter what kind of pain she is in, she still has that smile," Dwayne said.

Dwayne said, as a police officer, his mother’s visit is about more than brightening his mom's day.

He said it showed a dedication to the community that makes officers better at stopping crime.

"Those one's that go out with a bulletproof vest and a gun on,” Dwayne said, “those men and women, every day, care so much about their communities."

He wanted to extend his deepest gratitude to Charleston police and the YWCA, which helped organize the visit.

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