What's a police officer's favorite snack? Doughnuts, of course.
Armed with that presupposition and support from his mom, 9-year-year old Tyler Carach, of Bratt, Fla., has set out on a mission to deliver doughnuts to law enforcement officers across the country.
Friday morning, Tyler, aka "Donut Boy," was in Harford County to hand out doughnuts and meet police officers at the Harford County Sheriff's Office Southern Precinct station in Edgewood.
"One day me and my mom went to a local store and I saw four cops and I asked if I could buy them mini donuts with my own money. So I did and it made them happy," said Tyler, who wears a cape decorated with pictures of doughnuts when he makes his delivery. "When we left, I told my mom, I want to buy doughnuts for every cop in America."
Representatives from 10 law enforcement agencies from Harford, Cecil and Baltimore counties, as well as the Aberdeen Proving Ground Police, Harford State's Attorney's Office and ICE came out for their share of the doughnuts donated by a local Dunkin' Donuts franchisee, Raj Patel.
Patel, who owns the Dunkin' Donuts at 3004 Emmorton Road in Abingdon, and store manager Denny Patel supplied approximately 500 Munchkins and about 1,000 doughnuts, he said.
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler presented Tyler with a Sheriff's Salute award and the other agencies presented him with a host of goodies, including an agency patch one of which he has collected from all the agencies he has visited.
Maryland State Police Capt. Mike Wann presented Tyler with an honorary State Trooper proclamation.
"This is just so cool, this young man thinks enough of the men and women in law enforcement to travel around the country and through his gift of doughnuts, shows his appreciation for what law enforcement officers do every single day. It's very nice to see this," Gahler said.
It comes as no surprise that Tyler plans to be a police officer when he grows up, specifically a K-9 officer.
A few K-9 officers came out to meet Tyler, including Senior Deputy Jeremy Mothershed and his canine partner, Chance, with the Harford County Sheriff's Office. Tyler shared some dog treats and a few hugs with the dogs in his appreciation for them, too.
Sheena Carach, Tyler's mom, along with his sister Naudia, 14, and brother Zach, 13, have been traveling with him in this six-week stretch of his mission, which started in late June. They traveled to Vermont, New York, New Jersey and were in Laurel, Maryland on Aug. 4 to name a few, delivering doughnuts to officers.
"At first, of course, I was thinking to myself, how am I gonna pay for 900,000 doughnuts because there are a lot of cops in America," said Carach, a former police officer. "It's very important to my husband and I that we back up anything our kids throw at us. We've always taught them that you're the only person in life that can limit yourself and if you believe it you can achieve it."
"... we've been to 16 states so far with over 22,000 doughnuts delivered in well over 100 departments," Carach said, while the family was in Laurel. "It has been pretty awesome."
Since June 26, Tyler has handed out about 16,000 doughnuts, with approximately 13,000 provided by independently owned Dunkin' Donuts stores and 1,700 from Bill's Donut Shop in Centerville, Ohio.
Lisa Tucker and Jim Elam, siblings and co-owners of Bill's Donut Shop, said they were overjoyed to provide doughnuts for Tyler's effort. The small bakery's doughnuts reached about 30 jurisdictions in Montgomery County, Ohio.
"I think what this kid is doing is just tremendous," Tucker said. "We don't thank our officers enough. For this little boy to go out and try to thank as many police officers as he can, we couldn't turn down that opportunity to help him with that endeavor."
In addition to donations, Carach said the family also uses their own money to pay for the sweet treats. For future travels, she started a GoFundMe page to raise more money, which had reached nearly $2,700 out of their $10,000 goal as of Aug. 7.
"He had this amazing idea and we couldn't just shut it down ... because that would go against everything we had ever taught them," proud mom Carach said as she watched her son sounding the sirens and flashing the lights of a police vehicle.
"Tyler has actually said it best by saying it is a really big goal, it is a really big dream, but nothing in the world is impossible," Carach said.
For more information about Tyler and his doughnut mission, check out his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pg/IDONUTneedareasontothankacop
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Andrew Michaels contributed to this article.