Aaron and Jeanie York partner with IMPD Southeast for Community Day at Garfield Park

Aaron and Jeanie York partner with IMPD Southeast for Community Day at Garfield Park

Aaron and Jeanie York.
*Photo by Nicole Davis

Aaron York has a passion for anything that helps his Indianapolis community or that puts people to work.

Among his many community service projects, he and his family will soon attend the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Southeast District’s Community Day, on May 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Garfield Park at the Pagoda. Donating, cooking and serving up the pizzas is the perfect way to give back to the neighborhood children and support the police department, Aaron said.

“Aaron York and his family own a local business that has a long history in the neighborhood,” stated Community Relations Officer Jason Hayes in an email. “We are blessed to have so many great community members who love paying it forward. Our community/police relationships have a positive impact on crime prevention and awareness.”

A native of Hazard, Ky., he and his wife, Jeanie, moved to Indianapolis after they married. He had 15 years of experience in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration before he started his own company in 1977.

“He got his first job on a handshake,” Jeanie said. “He ended up being vice president.”

When Aaron opened his own business, Aaron York’s Quality Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc., it was on Park Avenue, downtown Indianapolis. He says he operated the company on the premise of being honest and congenial with people, and you will earn their respect and their business.

“He has this way with people,” Jeanie said. “It doesn’t matter how much they’re worth, or how small they are. He will give as much time to a new small business person that’s just trying to get in. He will help that person with the same amount of dedication as anyone else.”

Aaron York receives 2013 Crime Fighter of the Year Award from Commander John Conley.

Aaron has served as chairman of the Marion County Licensing Board, helping fine-tune the licensing regulations for contractors in Marion County. When he came to Indianapolis, there were also no training schools in the industry. He and his boss at his previous job helped to start some schools, one at Ivy Tech and another at IUPUI. He taught at those schools for many years.

“Many people in central Indiana, I was fortunate enough to train, to help them,” Aaron said. “Getting people that are not doing things, to doing things with their hands is very important. The greatest thing we can give any person is to help them accomplish something. It gives you a good feeling inside. The more we can make others have  a better opinion about themselves, the better it will be.”

Though he’s now retired, Aaron is regularly in the office, 824 S. West St., Indianapolis, working and providing guidance. The company continues to be run by Aaron and Jeanie’s daughter, Karen, and her husband, Kris Conover. Aaron still has that desire to help the business succeed, while continuing to spend his time giving back to other people and local businesses.

Aside from his work, he and Jeanie are involved with an organization called Loving Hands, a nonprofit designed for young men who have gotten themselves in trouble. Loving Hands is based out of Florida, and is a recovery center for these men to get cleaned up, work and meet certain criteria to get out on their own.

Several years ago, the Yorks found out that the Church of God in Cleveland, Tenn., was getting in semi-trailer truckloads packed with food, clothing and assorted items. The church would give them to those who could pay the shipping costs. The York family started to purchase two or three of these trailers a year with the desire to give the items to people in need. Aaron had formed a relationship with IMPD while trying to improve the neighborhood in which the business was located. When IMPD heard what they were doing with the semis, they asked to partner with them. One year, the truck was loaded with heavy wool socks, which IMPD took to people downtown.

National Night Out, August 2015.

“We love to help people,” Aaron said. “We paid the shipping. We gave the food and the clothing, whatever was in there, to help the people in need. They got it free of charge for Christmas.”

That relationship with IMPD has grown from there. The York family had access to a pizza machine, and approximately eight years ago, IMPD asked if they could cook pizzas for the annual Community Days around the city. They cook the pizzas at the Community Days at Garfield Park, Broad Ripple and Brookside Park. They also cook for National Night Out, this year Aug. 1 in the Twin Aire neighborhood.

“Last year we did over 400 pizzas, or 3,200 slices,” Aaron said. “Children love the pizza. They can have as much as they want. The police, they park their cars and the children can talk to them. It’s teamwork.”

May 18 will be the 26th annual Community Day for the Southeast District.

“It allows citizens who live within Southeast District to interact with officers outside of calls for service,” stated Community Relations Officer Jason Hayes in an email. “As is most cases calls for service don’t always allow citizens to interact in a social manner with officers. Over the years we have developed many positive relationships with people of all ages by having these events.”

The family-friendly event offers free food and music with more than 25 participants/organizations attending including Indiana National Gard, The Salvation Army, Better Business Bureau, Prime Smile Dental, and many others that can offer resources to citizens. IMPD will also have several specialty units there for citizens to get an up close view.   

“One of the objects with the community policing of IMPD is to reach out to the small children,” said Aaron and Jeanie’s daughter, Myrna Reasoner. “When they’re teenagers, they already have their opinion. For small children, when the police come to their home, that experience doesn’t usually have a happy ending for that child. Community policing, the police are able to get out and reach these small children so that they know they are not the bad guys. This is bringing them free food, giving them bicycles, giving them a way to see the police do good things and have positive experiences with them.”

For more information about the IMPD Community Day, visit facebook.com/IMPD-Southeast-District-344823785727389/.