By Ann Fogarty
Little Jessica Gutierrez didn’t think a pouch lying on the ground should be there. While she was walking to school, she thought it was strange, out of place. Curious, she picked it up. What was inside astonished her.
It was hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
The seven-year-old remembered her mother’s advice never to keep anything that didn’t belong to her, so she did not hesitate. Upon arriving at Tremont Elementary School, she turned it in immediately.
On Thursday, March 21, the town of Dixon is going to celebrate her honesty.
Bryan-Braker Funeral Home of Dixon will be using one of their white stretch limos to pick Jessica up from her apartment and take her to school in style.
The Dixon PD will also be on hand with their new officer canine to provide a “lights-flashing” escort. Jon Cox, the chief of the Dixon Police Department and Canine Officer Kevin Szmurlo and his German Shepherd, Fero will celebrate Jessica’s act and emphasize the importance of honesty to her classmates. Fero, who is still young and in training, will demonstrate what he has learned on his new job so far. Jessica will also receive a badge sticker and a certificate of appreciation.
“Jessica showed everyone that honesty really is the best policy, and that is a great lesson for the children,” said Cox. “Actually, it’s a great lesson for everyone. We honor her good deed.
Several business owners in Dixon were also moved by Jessica’s story. Cattleman’s Restaurant is providing tee shirts for Jessica and her siblings. Anytime they enter the restaurants with those shirts on, they will receive a free meal.
Cool Patch Pumpkins and World’s Largest Corn Maze will give Jessica and her family free pumpkins for life and a lifetime pass will be provide for the maze. “As long as we grow pumpkins, Jessica’s family members will have their names on them,” says Cool Patch owner, Mark Cooley.
Mary’s Pizza Shack in Dixon will provide pizza lunch for her classmates at noon.
Along with providing the limousine, Bryan-Braker has started a college fund for Jessica. “I can’t believe how many leaders in our town have jumped on the bandwagon to help her,” said Chris Donhost, manager. “Everyone loves Jessica.”
As for the woman who lost her wallet, there was nothing but relief. The fortunate beneficiary of little Jessica, who wishes to remain anonymous, expressed her gratitude to the little girl with a cash reward.
“We are so proud of Jessica,” said Tremont principal Adriane Laughter (pronounced “lodder). “When we told her about the limo, Fero the dog and a pizza party that will be held in her honor, our quiet little student didn’t say much. But she was grinning ear to ear.”