The Power of a Suit & the Gift of Giving

Going beyond the call of duty to make a difference, a Calgary cop, a husband and a father,  discovered first hand the impact of something as simple as a suit and the power of giving on both sides of the spectrum.

Cst. Derek Thistle
The idea of a suit drive was the brainchild of Cst Derek Thistle and stemmed from his response to a panhandler call that ended up with the two men having an honest conversation. At one point Derek asked the man if he felt if there was any work out there for him and the man simply looked back at Derek with shrug and said, ‘Look at me... who’s gonna hire me?’

That statement stayed with Derek and later, when cleaning out his closet, he noticed he had a couple of extra suits and thought a guy like that could benefit from them. Not long after, he put the call out to his colleagues to collect suits to be donated to men in need. He wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but thought 10 suits would be pretty good and if he could get up to 50 it would be a great success. Hundreds of suits and more than 1000 articles of clothing soon filled Derek's entire garage.

On Friday of last week, Derek, along with a few of his colleagues delivered most of this to the CFN,
with the rest going to the Calgary Dream Centre. Here at CFN hundreds of people showed up turning the Centre into a retail shop for a brief time.

What struck this writer most, aside from the sheer amount of clothing this simple idea produced, was that Derek had placed all this in his own garage, then loaded it up and delivered all of this with his wife and two young daughters there to help him. It was a family affair and with his two girls seeing Dad involved in volunteering, in getting involved in his community and caring for others, his children are growing up, reflecting upon these important ideals and will realize that helping others is not only important, but can become a way of life - a way of life that makes our city the best place it can be.

CFN salutes Cst Derek Thistle and his colleagues for making the kind of an impact on their community that goes far beyond being good cops who serve and protect YYC. We here at CFN look forward to continued work with the Calgary Police Service to further strengthen our city, whenever and wherever can. For more photos click here and to hear from Derek and see the impact of his inspired idea watch below.