Thursday, December 15, 2016

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, in many ways. Christmastime has always been my favorite time of year to cover news in this community. Each week, from Thanksgiving through New Years, there seems to be magic in the air that transcribes over to the pages in this newspaper.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take photos of our uniformed officers volunteering their time to help children from Grandview fulfill their Christmas wishes. Armed with $100 and a shopping cart, each officer was paired with a new friend and their families to take part in this memory-making tradition.

One officer, who told me it was his first experience with Christmas with Cops, said that it was one of the most humbling things he’s witnessed. This year, I personally saw socks and underwear being tossed into carts, along with a little something for one girl’s mom. I saw police officers opening their own wallets to pay for the small difference when their shopping buddies went a little over budget. I saw parents walking behind their children, with wide smiles and tears in their eyes, as they realized Christmas was indeed going to come.

I overheard one girl tell the officer she was shopping with that she “needs a phone so when Mom works late I can let her know when my homework is done, what I’ve had for dinner, and when I’m going to bed.” Phones, electronics, music and DVDs were the popular items for the teens, while one little boy ran (I don’t think I saw him slow down once) through the toy aisles, grabbing a small chair, monster trucks and robots.

Each kiddo, from the smallest little guy to the oldest teenager, beamed at the officers with grins of delight. Christmas, this year, will be celebrated with a bit more cheer in each of their homes. And when they are older, I have no doubt that these kids will pay it forward, maybe even some of them will become Christmas-shopping cops, too.

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