Deputy Joshua Vacha said the child's gift will be with him every day he heads for work with the Stark County Sheriff's Office.

PLAIN TWP.  All of us like being reminded that people appreciate our efforts. It's often the small, unexpected reminders that stay with us.

Stark County Sheriff's Deputy Joshua Vacha had just pulled to a stop in a open area near Washington Square when a sports utility vehicle pulled up next to his cruiser. A young boy climbed out and walked to Vacha's window.

"Thank you for everything that you do and we love you," the youngster told Vacha. Then boy reached into his pocket, pulled out a painted rock and gave it to the deputy. "We support you!" reads the rock, which also has red and blue lines.

"My heart melted," Vacha said. "It was a truly remarkable feeling."

Vacha has been a sheriff's deputy for eight years, and in 2008 worked briefly for the Jackson Township and Minerva police departments before joining the sheriff's office.

Zane Cugini, 4, offered the gift and kind words. Holly Cugini and her children — Makennah, 10, Zander, 7, and Zane — have been painting encouraging words on rocks and hiding them as a random acts of kindness.

Saturday marked the second time the family personally gifted a painted rock to a police officer. Last month, the family gave North Canton Patrolman Gary Dodge with a rock that reads "Your life matters 2 us" and has a blue line.

Holly Cugini said she is teaching her children to abide by the law and that police officers, firefighters and paramedics are here to help them. The family is trying to show support for safety forces, she said.

"We support them. We are here for them. We thank them for their service," she said.

The message came in loud and clear for Vacha.

"It was one of my finer moments in law enforcement," he said. "I will carry that every day when I'm on patrol, the rest of my career."

Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or edd.pritchard@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @epritchardREP