Christmas comes early for children shopping with cops

Authored by Jim Langham on Dec 9, 2013

Thanks to generous donations poured into the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) “Shop with the Cop” fund, many children in Adams County had an early Christmas on Sunday afternoon at the Wal-Mart store in Decatur.
According to deputy Jodi Mawhorr, 34 children were escorted by over 20 law enforcement personnel. Mawhorr said that selection is made through a screening process based on need and in comparison to other county organizations that are assisting with Christmas needs.
Mawhorr noted that this year, $150 was available for each child. One of the purposes, she said, for involvement with the event, is to connect children with law enforcement to enhance a positive understanding that cops want to be their friend and helper.
“There are applications that are turned in; we sit down as officers to decide who the recipients will be this year,” said Mawhorr.
Following the shopping event, officers gather with recipients and their families at Pizza King in Decatur for a special party to top off the day, Mawhorr said.
“We have received wonderful donations this year, both from businesses and private sources,” said Mawhorr.
Mawhorr said that there have been individual gifts ranging up to $1,000. She noted that some money is carried over for next year’s event to secure backing in special needs and to assure a foundation for next year’s event.
“It’s very important for communities to be able to provide for their children,” said Mawhorr, who noted that the FOP also works with such Christmas giving organizations as Love, Inc. and Compassionate Ministries in Berne. She noted that the different organizations are developing a cross reference list to help guarantee a broader base of giving to all.
The FOP involves law enforcement from all county communities including Geneva, Berne, Monroe and Decatur.
Patty Elzey, front end zone supervisor for Walmart, has been present for many of the FOP Christmas events. She said that the joy of seeing happiness in the children’s faces brings excitement to her heart each year.
“I think this is an awesome thing,” said Elzey. “It is wonderful to know that Adams County children are being cared for like this. There is so much love that surrounds our children in all of this.”
Decatur police chief Ken Ketzler said that officers always make sure that kids purchase coats, gloves and boots, to help guarantee that they are going to be warm during the winter.
“We try to take care of their health needs first,” said Ketzler. “Once those things are purchased, then they can use the rest to spend on what they would like.
“It makes you feel good to see their faces light up when they get these things,” continued Ketzler. “It’s always a special feeling to help these kids.”
“This helps our whole family; we really appreciate it,” said recipient Gavin Fulton of Berne, who purchased X-Box points and clothes.
Jessica Setelo, a mother from Berne, offered her thank you and appreciation to the FOP for helping her Family.
“It’s awesome; it means so much to know that the kids are going to have a nice Christmas,” said Setelo.
“This is fantastic, it’s a good way for us to bridge the gap between law enforcement and young people,” said deputy sergeant Trevor Callahan with the Adams County Sheriff Department. “It is such an absolute joy to bring happiness to these children. Sometimes it’s the first time the kids have had contact with law enforcement.”
“It makes me feel so good to help,” commented Greg Cook, deputy chief with the Decatur Police Department. “It’s such a great way of helping kids have a happy Christmas.
“The kids just go nuts,” continued Cook. “We are so happy to have the opportunity to help them have a good Christmas.”
“It kind of opens your eyes; it makes you realize what kind of needs are out there,” said Casey Springer of the Decatur Police Department. “It is a positive way of connecting with kids and families. It also changes the way you look at things.”
Dan Mawhorr, District Squad Sergeant with the Indiana State Police, commented, “it’s nice that kids can see a positive side of the police department rather than crashes or jail.
“We are happy and humbled to help out these families. It feels good to be in a position where we can do this,” added Mawhorr.

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