Local officers give Christmas cheer to kids
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 83 once again partners with Target to host ‘Santa with a Badge’ at the Martinsburg Target location. More than 20 officers and associate members of the FOP lodge were on hand to escort nearly 125 children through the aisles, helping them find their favorite Christmas presents.
Each of the children, who were selected based on referrals from schools, churches, neighbors and others who knew of their need, were allowed to spend $75 on items of their choice. Each child was escorted by an officer to help them stay on budget and find just the right gifts.
Children and their family members were lined up inside of the store to be paired with an officer. They were greeted by Bullseye, Target dog mascot as well as Jefferson County Parks and Recreation’s ‘Chippy’ who joined in the festivities. Chick-Fil-A was also a partner this year and provided breakfast for each of the children. The Chick-Fil-A Cow was on hand to welcome the children to breakfast after they finished their shopping.
FOP incoming president, Robbie Roberts, a member of the Ranson Police Department, who has been participating in the program for about 27 years, said this year he had some quick shoppers.
“My first child knew exactly what she wanted and was in and out,” he laughed. Roberts’ second round through the store went a little slower as Douglas Hare is not quite three and he wasn’t really sure what he wanted. Unable to verbalize too much, little Douglas, who will celebrate his birthday on Christmas Eve, loved the toys that made noise and had lights.
Roberts explained that there were officers and personnel from his own department in Ranson as well as Charles Town Police Department, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department, The West Virginia State Police, Martinsburg City Police, Shepherdstown Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff’s Reserves,and the Department of Corrections.
Avonna King, 10, met her ‘Santa with a badge,’ Mike Moats, an officer with Shepherdstown. She said that she didn’t really know before coming what she wanted to get but had already selected the game of Life. When asked if she had played the game before, she said, yes, the electronic version.
Moats, who joined in this year for the first time, summed up the experience by saying, “I really like this kind of things. I love kids and this is a great chance to make relationships.”
Human Resources Manager, Stephanie, at Target, expressed their delight in once again partnering for the event. She explained that Target incorporates this event into their “Heroes and Helpers” program.
“We are so excited to participate in this for the children in the community,” Stephanie said. She explained that Target, each month, has a volunteer event in which they participate, such as visiting the SPCA.
“The generosity of businesses and the community giving helps us to do this,” Tom Hansen, event organizer said.
Larry Vangrosen, a bailiff for Jefferson County, has been volunteering for this event since 1993.
“We always have fun,” he said.