CMPD officer surprises fourth-grader who lost father with family getaway

CMPD officer, students rally after boy loses father

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Recently, a fourth-grader at Winterfield Elementary School lost his father.

The tragedy inspired his mentor and friend, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer, to create a special moment that he hopes Nija Cruz will never forget.

On Wednesday, Officer Matthew Teague helped organize an assembly honoring Nija and his twin sisters. There, he presented awards to all of them for their hard work in school.

Content Continues Below

And then, the surprise.

"So now, what this young man doesn't know is I have one more special reward for him,” Teague announced. “On behalf of the CMPD, the staff here at Winterfield, we'd like for your entire family to go to Great Wolf Lodge for an overnight stay at the hotel and the waterpark and have as much fun as you can.”

Nija's mother told Channel 9 that with everything the family is going through, they really needed something like this.

In the video at the top of this webpage, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer and fellow students rally together to help the boy and presented him with a special surprise.

>> Reading this story in our app? The new "Follow the Lead" feature allows you to tap the blue tag indicated with a '+' to subscribe to alerts on the very latest breaking news updates.