'They're my guardian angels': Senior citizen thanks Detroit police officers who saved her from injury

Denise Willingham
Posted at 7:10 PM, Apr 16, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — When the wind began to sweep Denise Willingham's walker away, the senior citizen with multiple sclerosis knew she was in trouble.

"A burst of wind came and separated me from my walker. I was about to fall," Willingham said.

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Denise Willingham on April 16, 2024.

It happened just after Willingham's godson, John Bolden, dropped her off at the Rite Aid on Woodward Avenue in Detroit's Midtown to go park.

"You take someone out of your sight for two seconds and like snap, something can happen," Bolden said.

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Denise Willingham's godson John Bolden. (April 16, 2024)

But then seemingly out of nowhere, two police officers appeared and grabbed onto Willingham so she wouldn't fall and retrieved her wheelchair.

"Johnny-on-the-spot," Willingham told 7 Action News. "It's like guardian angels. They're my guardian angels."

Officer Macy Korn recalls the wind blowing incredibly hard that day. She also remembers the kind lady they rushed to help.

"She was just the sweetest," Korn said.

"We basically just jumped into action. We had to," Detroit Police Officer DeAngelo Willis-Mustafaa said. "I thought about it like she was my mother."

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Detroit Police Department Officer DeAngelo Willis-Mustafaa. (April 16, 2024)

VIDEO: Hear more from Willingham about her experience with the officers she says went above and beyond to help her

VIDEO: Hear more from the woman who said officers went above and beyond to help her

On Tuesday, Willingham met up with Korn and Willis-Mustafaa as well as two other officers who were on patrol that day and stopped to assist her, even going into the store with Willingham who had been shaken by the near-disaster in the parking lot.

Once inside the store, Officer Hassan El-Hallani told Willingham that he'd grab the items that were difficult for her to reach.

"I wanted to grab the items for her off the top shelf," El-Hallani told 7 Action News. "It was the holy month of Ramadan at the time, so I wanted to do good deeds for the community and also serve. That's what I'm here for."

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Detroit Police Department Officer Hassan El-Hallani. (April 16, 2024)

And it was with a tear in her eye that she recalled something special that El-Hallani did for her.

"He paid for every item I purchased that day," Willingham said.

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Detroit Police Department Officer Omar Nahshal. (April 16, 2024)

Officer Omar Nahshal said, "I'm glad she felt safe with us and taken care of. And that's what the Detroit Police Department is about."

Willingham wanted 7 Action News to be there as she thanked the officers for going above and beyond that day and every day that they are out in the community, being a part of the community.

Denise Willingham
Denise Willingham stands next to Detroit police officers who helped her not fall during a windy day and paid for her shopping items. (April 16, 2024)

"You guys don't get nearly the positive recognition that you deserve," Willingham told the officers.

"It's part of our duty, part of our job," Willis-Mustafaa said. "That's why we joined the force: our passion for being able to help the community."