U.S. marshals honor C.R. boy for his kind words

Hudson Banowetz, 9, of Cedar Rapids, meets Marion Police Chief Mike Kitsmiller last Thursday at the U.S. District Courth
Hudson Banowetz, 9, of Cedar Rapids, meets Marion Police Chief Mike Kitsmiller last Thursday at the U.S. District Courthouse in Cedar Rapids. Behind Hudson are his mom, Betsy Banowetz, and his sisters, Remi, 1, Adele, 7, and Hadley, 4. Kitsmiller was part of a group thanking the children for their notes of kindness to local law enforcement. Hudson was sworn in as a junior deputy after sending his support to the U.S. Marshals Service, and Adele and Hadley sent notes to Kitsmiller, the Cedar Rapids police and Linn County Sheriff’s Office. The family members, including father Brian Banowetz, were all treated to a behind-the-scenes tour at the marshals’ office. (Trish Mehaffey/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Hudson Banowetz, 9, of Cedar Rapids, didn’t think just sending a letter of kindness would lead to being sworn-in as a special junior deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service.

“I’m amazed it turned into something like this,” Hudson said last Thursday after getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the U.S. Marshals’ office in the U.S. District Courthouse. “I didn’t know this would happen. It’s really awesome.”

Hudson, his three sisters and parents were shown the control room — full of screens showing every view inside and outside the courthouse — marshal offices, and a door that leads to holding cells for defendants in federal court. Topping it off, Hudson had a fitting for hand cuffs — just for fun.

Hudson sent a note to the marshals last week, thanking them for their service and telling them to “keep up the good work even when people are saying bad things about you. We are praying for you. We are thankful for you.”

He said his parents have friends who are marshals and his uncle is a police officer in Marion.

Asked if he liked police officers, Hudson just grinned and said, “They’re nice guys.” He hopes people “treat them kindly and be nice to them.”

U.S. Marshal Douglas Strike said, “it lifted our spirits” to get this right now.

“I’m very touched by it,” Strike added.

Chief Dep. Marshal Chris Barther, who moved to Cedar Rapids from Virginia in March, said, “It means a ton. It’s a good reminder for us in our community of why we do what we do. It’s the little things that mean so much.”

Although the marshals aren’t on the front lines, Barther pointed out they do provide logistical support to other law enforcement in times like a pandemic and during civil unrest — such as the people protesting across the state and nation after George Floyd was killed last month in Minnesota.


Brian Banowetz, Hudson’s father, said he knows law enforcement is “feeling burdened” right now, so he and his wife, Betsy, wanted to have the kids send out encouraging notes to local agencies to show their appreciation.

Hudson’s sisters, Adele, 7, and Hadley, 4, also sent thank-you notes to the Marion and Cedar Rapids police departments and the Linn County Sheriff’s Office. His other sister, 1-year-old Remi, is too young, but she enjoyed the tour from the best view in her mother’s arms.

Hudson took his swearing in seriously as he received an honorary badge and signed the junior deputy certificate, saying he would honor his duties, which included obeying his parents. He also received a badge and pins from Marion Police Chief Mike Kitsmiller, who came to the courthouse to thank Hudson and his family.

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