TPD Officer, Mother Of 13 Strike Unexpected Friendship
TULSA, Oklahoma - With tension rising in cities across America between police and civilians, officers in Tulsa are breaking barriers in a big way.
They fight crime day and night, they catch the bad guys, but what the public doesn't see is the many Tulsa officers who go out of their way to help the good.
“I just can't put into words what I'm feeling,” said single mother, Tequila.
Sometimes those who have the least, have the most.
“I see them all as a blessing. They all have their different personalities and characteristics that just shines,” Tequila said.
Tequila is a mother to 13 blessings. She's raising and homeschooling her children between the ages of 14 and 5 weeks old.
“I get judged a lot just being a parent of so many kids. I mean people doesn't look at me like as a human being,” she said.
Tequila gave birth at 13, then, was forced into the life of prostitution as a teenager living in Louisiana.
She ended up in Oklahoma after Hurricane Katrina; it was her chance at a new life, she said.
Now Tequila has a GED, 72 college credit hours, a roof over her family's head and just enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table.
“I told my kids, 'Poor doesn't have anything to do with your education or your well-being or just your personal character. Don't let that take away from you and who you are,'” Tequila said.
She had to quit her job earlier in the year, when one of her youngest sons was diagnosed with a breathing condition that requires multiple visits to the doctor each month.
“They didn't have hardly anything, but you couldn't tell. The way they loved each other, the way they love others, the way they carry themselves, you just couldn't tell, they're just good people,” Officer Amy Jensen said.
Good people can be hard to come by in Jensen's line of work, but when she met Tequila's family over the summer she knew she wanted to help change their lives, but didn't know it would change hers, too.
“There's so many good people in Tulsa and good things happen, too. And we can be a part of good things, we don't have to only see people on their worst day, we can see people on their best day and then we can make it better,” Jensen said.
Jensen started out by helping them get a dog, something they wanted to feel safer in their crime-riddled neighborhood.
“It's got everything from good people who have lived there a long time to I've served search warrants there where I've recovered crack and guns just two blocks away,” said Jensen.
Then a few months later, when she stopped by to check on the family, she found they had no furniture.
“Clean, totally clean, everything was clean, but just bare,” Jensen said. “They never asked for help. She didn't want to tell me, she didn't want to tell me she needed help.”
So Jensen jumped into action and used social media to get donations. In no time, the children had beds to sleep on, new, clean sheets, a dinner table and a washer and dryer.
“Until you don't have it, you never know how much a table might mean to you, or how much it would make a difference to eat on a table instead of eat on the floor,” Tequila said. “Just to have things in your home to make it look nice, to really be able to enjoy your home the way everybody else does, that's all I ever wanted for my children and for me.”
Jensen's selflessness would have gone unrecognized, but someone noticed her good deeds and sent an email to one of her bosses.
“We were worried about bringing up because we knew it was personal,” said Major Travis Yates. “She's gonna alter the course of an entire generation, herself, and we should all look at that and be amazed and be encouraged that if she can do it, we all can do it. This is lifelong, this is forever, this will changes lives forever.”
That is Jensen's goal. She doesn't want recognition, she just wants to make a difference in the lives of those 13 children, who now feel more like family.
“We call her Auntie Amy now,” Tequila said laughing.
“They're kids, they're beautiful, more importantly, they're hearts are beautiful. I mean, 13 kids getting out of poverty? 13 kids being successful? If you want to leave a legacy, if you want to make a difference, that's how I think you do it and that's how I want to do it,” Jensen said.
Jensen has set it up so the family will have what is likely going to be their best Christmas ever, with presents under the tree.
She is working on getting the family a van, and, through social media, someone offered to buy food for the family dog as long as he lives.
Jensen said she wouldn't have been able to help without the giving hands of her church family at South Park Community Church, Tulsa Paws and other TPD officers.