Local CBP officer makes a difference in Haiti

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB)- Officer Steve Saraf joined Customs and Border Protection 13 years ago because he wanted to make a difference.

“With our job we like to help people. That’s what we do,” he told News 4.

Whether it’s protecting our borders or protecting our people, Saraf teaches new officers how to approach dangerous situations the right way. He leads new officers through virtual training; simulations of active shooters, hostage situations or domestic disturbances.

One of the most important tools a new officer learns is the thought process behind each decision, which they often have just seconds to make.

“He portrays the characteristics that someone has outside of this and he brings them to the job. Characteristics like persistence, flexibility, empathy,” said Chief Customs and Border Protection Officer, Aaron Bowker.

Those same qualities led Saraf to Port Au Prince, Haiti with the Lockport Alliance Church in early September.

“There were 17 of us that went and Steve was really excited. Steve was one of the first people that said I really would like to go and do something like this,” Assistant Pastor of the Lockport Alliance Church, Alex Banks said.

Saraf spent a week digging, building, and helping a community devastated by natural disasters and poverty to move forward. He helped build a school for more than 400 students.

“We put in plumbing, toilets, painted, built pews, built desks,” Saraf explained.

He said the decision to go to Haiti wasn’t something he thought long about.

“It was almost a no-brainer. It was a very simple decision to want to go over there and try to help and learn about what differences there are from their culture to ours, and to learn about different people.”

He knows he can’t fix an entire country, nor can he make sure no officer ever makes a mistake.

Officer Sarah said Haiti has helped him view each officer as an opportunity, just like each student, whose future is now just a little bit brighter.

WIVB.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s