During a Feb. 27 ceremony, almost all of the students at Copper Creek Elementary School wore black and had a sticker in the shape of a police badge stuck on them in honor of Ed Holdinsky, the school’s retiring School Resource Officer (SRO) of the Oro Valley Police Department.
Many of the students even crafted police hats from construction paper to show support for Holdinsky.
For the past 27 years, Holdinsky has been an officer with the Oro Valley Police Department. He spent the last six years of his 33-year career being an officer, a mentor, and a friend at Copper Creek Elementary School.
The ceremony began with Holdinsky waiting in the hallway of the gymnasium. He was lured into the crowded gym with the chanting of his name by hundreds of elementary students.
His farewell party included gifts for his recently purchased Harley Davidson motorcycle, poems, speeches, and even a short slideshow to the accompaniment of Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of your Life).”
Students’ and teachers’ eyes went misty as the slideshow was projected onto a large screen above the stage and as the ceremony drew to an end, a barrage of dozens of students mobbed Holdinsky for hugs.
Holdinsky truly was a part of the school’s family. He connected with them.
He had done everything from being a motor officer to SWAT, and from being an undercover officer to being a detective, but his last thoughts on his achievements with his career are only of being an SRO at Copper Creek Elementary School.
“This is has probably been the most rewarding – finishing out my career with being a school resource officer, being with the kids, sharing with the kids, and of course having them share back,” he said” It has been very rewarding.”
In his retirement, he plans to continue focusing on his hobbies of woodwork, gardening, restoring an old car, and getting to spend some time with his two granddaughters.
Throughout the time before, during and after the celebration, Holdinsky continued to bring himself down to the level of the students to talk to them or to receive a farewell hug. Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp knows first hand about how Holdinsky connected with the children.
“When he wore the regular uniform regular pants, he wore the knees out,” Sharp said. “Because he would get on his knees to get down with the kids level. He just gets it.”
Diana Walker, the principal at the school, has been at the school for the past 11 years. She was there when Holdinsky transferred from being an SRO at Canyon Del Oro High School.
She felt he brought the image and persona of a police officer for the students as some who enforces the laws but at the same time showed them that police officers can be their friends, too.
Walker is very appreciative of the Town of Oro Valley and the Oro Valley Police Department for allocating an officer for their school, which helps the atmosphere at the school for teachers and parents.
“He has just been a great partner for all of us,” Walker said.