JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas boy dressed up as his school’s security officer on the day students were told to dress as their favorite person.

Officer Jeffery Cross told KTHV-TV in Little Rock that he was honored that kindergartner Easton Blocker dressed up like him on Wednesday.

“Just for the fact that he shows his appreciation and he hugs me every day when he sees me every morning. It really makes my day,” said Cross, who is the security officer at Bobby G. Lester Elementary School in Jacksonville, located about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock.

This is the first year for the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District to have armed security officers. And it’s the first district in the state to have one in every school.

“They had questions about why I was armed and I was just telling them, ‘I’m armed to protect them from someone bad who would come and hurt them,’” Cross said.

Easton’s mother, Lauryn Blocker, said that message resonated with her son.

“He tells me every day, ‘Officer Cross keeps us safe from the bad guys, mommy,'” she said.

“The love that that child has for him is overwhelming,” she said. “Every morning he is out there greeting the kids. High fives and hugs. That’s what you can expect from Officer Cross.”