MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family starting the year in difficult circumstances is thanking a watchful community member for stepping in.

When the Carpenter’s truck broke down this month, they weren’t sure when they’d have the money to fix it. But a man not looking for any credit went above and beyond the call of duty to help.

Firing up a generator in subzero temperatures has become an unfortunate reality for the Carpenter family.

“When it happened it spiraled quickly,” Angel Carpenter said.

They’ve called their truck and trailer home for more than three months.

“It’s been pretty hard,” Dakota Carpenter said.

A son, mother and grandmother moving from parking lot to parking lot in West St. Paul when earlier this month their luck got even worse.

“The water pump went out,” Dakota Carpenter said.

Dakota tried to make the repairs himself but didn’t have the right tools.

“We’ve basically pawned everything we could think of to keep the gas going for this generator,” Angel said.

So they had the truck towed while Angel waited for her next paycheck to be able to cover the bill. The Carpenter’s truck sat at the auto shop for four days until a certain police officer spotted it and started asking questions.

“He basically said ‘Go get the truck fixed,’ and he handed me some money,” Angel said.

It was $300 from a West St. Paul cop, who the family had come to know. He’d been stopping by from time to time to see how they were getting along.

“I almost collapsed,” Angel said. “That’s what went through my mind. Like, ‘Oh my God!'”

But that officer doesn’t want us to know who he is. It’s why West St. Paul’s Police Chief told the story for him.

“The image the public has of us is kind of distorted and mixed, and I think police departments need to take a more active role in all of the good things we do out there,” Chief Bud Shaver said.

Chief Shaver said he often hears secondhand when one of his 30 officers goes beyond the call. One patrolman partly furnished a family’s apartment.

“[He] went down to the Goodwill store, bought some furniture, a TV stand, some other things out of his own pocket,” Chief Shaver said.

Another officer investigated after an elderly couple paid for a snow removal service that never showed.

“He got a snow blower and snow plowed out their driveway before he left and then he went back and wrote his police report,” Chief Shaver said.

An officer who delivered hope to the Carpenters, despite the fact that they never called for help.

“I’ve heard of earth angels out here, but never actually met many of them,” Shaver said. “And he’s definitely one.”

West St. Paul’s police chief heard about this good deed by the anonymous officer from a post on Facebook. Angel hopes to have the money to be able to find a new place to live as soon as possible.

If you’d like to help, you can donate to their GoFundMe page.

Liz Collin