A Lexington do-gooder police officer recently added another act of community service to his long list of good deeds after renovating a local woman’s home on December 22.
Lexington Neighborhood Police Officer Ryan Holland’s most recent good deed was to renovate Sylvia Bell’s home for the holidays.
When he first saw the home, he said it was “unliveable.”
“You could jump up and down on this floor like a trampoline the whole house would bounce,” Holland said of the house.
With $90,000 raised from the community, Officer Holland transformed the house from floor to ceiling.
“I just hope that she knows that she’s cared for,” Officer Holland said. “People in this community love her and she’s got a safe house now.”
The repairs were completed just in time for Christmas.
“Oh, it’s beautiful. Oh, I just love everything. I ain’t never been so happy in my life,” Bell said.
Officer Holland’s nonprofit organization, Restore Hope, has been the vehicle by which he has helped so many in the community.
Holland, who spends a lot of time on patrol talking with people on their porch and playing with local children, is not focused solely on making arrests.
Instead, he provides support in other special ways.
Previously, Holland worked with Kentucky’s Arbor Youth Services to renovate a historic downtown house to provide beds to homeless youth aged 18–24.
“I have a special feeling about this place because my family is a foster home and we’ve picked up a child from here and just seeing in the past two years the change of a different environment that they’re given, it really impacts their life and changes their life in a positive way,” Holland said at the time.
In another example of his community work, Holland was able to raise enough money for a family to go on vacation in Florida.
10-year-old Learis Jones and her 4-year-old sister were selling snacks in their front yard when Holland drove past.
“Something just pulled at my heartstring,” Holland said.
Holland launched a GoFundMe campaign for the family and raised $2,000 in three days.
“It just shows what a great community we do live in and that people want to help. They just need to know where the opportunity is,” the officer said.
In 2020, Holland helped a struggling family in need after they moved to the U.S. from Congo as refugees.
“(He’s got a) 14-month-old little girl and then he’s got five boys, the oldest being 14. His wife passed away four months ago, unexpectedly in her sleep,” Ryan Holland said.
By fundraising on Facebook, Holland was able to raise enough money to help the family with essentials.
“It’s amazing. People are offering to do anything, from clean the house, to buy groceries, to buy appliances, to clothing donations, all the household items they need. Even diapers and formula for the baby. I mean, this family needs everything,” Lexington mom Beth Pickrell said of the fundraiser.
Officer Holland also helps other officers in need.
After Officer Jaime Morales was shot in the line of duty and left paralyzed, Holland organized a project to renovate his house.
“I don’t know how to build a house either, I just know the right people who know how to do that and have a servant’s heart,” Holland said at the time. “He has an idea of the house that he wants. It’s a log cabin. We have that design.”
The renovation was the fourth housing project organized by Holland. The renovations included making the house wheelchair-friendly.
Holland doesn’t only build houses for the community. He also helped the police department collect donations of freezer pops to hand out to kids over the summer.
In total, the department collected over 100,000 freezer pops to distribute at summer camps, city pools and youth events to bring cops and kids together.