Adams County Sheriff’s Department Detective Sgt. Brian Newland with Mason Baldwin from the Adams County Christian School. (Photo by Ashley McCarty)
All of the children were abuzz as they led their partners down the aisles in search of goodies. (Photo by Ashley McCarty)
Over 70 children were gifted smiles and laughter this year through the “Shop with a Cop”program.
This was the eighth year the Shop with a Cop program has helped local children have a cheerful holiday. This year it was held on Dec. 18.
“Last year was a little different because of COVID-19. We shopped for the kids and delivered it to them individually. This year, we got to go back to the conventional way. When we started eight years ago, I went to the sheriff and told him I would like to do this for the kids. It started with the Fraternal Order of Police, of which I’m president, but it was a county-wide program. We didn’t want it to seem like it was just the FOP or just the sheriff’s office. We invited all of the agencies in. It started with a dream of $5,000, with $50 to spend on each child,” said Sgt. Randy Walters with the Adams County Sheriff’s Department.
That first year, they exceeded their goal with a total of $9,000 in donations.
“It was amazing. After that, it just kept growing. Every year, we started getting more help. Last year I got sick, and Chief Probation Officer Chelsea Blevins had to take over. She did a fabulous job. This year, I went to her and ask if she would spearhead it this year. The goal was to turn it into its own non-profit, which we’ve done with her help,” said Walters. The board will meet at the beginning of the new year.
“This year, we were able to spend $250 on each child, so the dream of $50 per child has turned into $250 per child. We’re up to $25,00 this year. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. We’ll continue this every year,” said Walters.
Even though the program affects at least 100 children each year, Walters believes wholeheartedly that the staff involved get more from it than the children.
“This is our opportunity to do something fun and positive with the kids. This is one day of the year that we get to be the good guy. We get to help the kids. We truly are trying to do good, and this is one day a year that it shows. The law enforcement of Adams County truly appreciates our community. We appreciate the support, donations and people that have helped out in any way,” said Walters.
Danielle Duba is a probation officer with the Adams County Adult and Juvenile Probation Department.
“I wanted to participate because it means so much to the community and the kids in the community. I don’t know who had more fun today, the kids or me,” she said, laughing.
One of the children she escorted that day was Madison Baldwin from Adams County Christian School.
While Baldwin admitted it was nervewracking to be picked this year, she had fun, nonetheless.
“I got AirPods, a blanket, a volleyball, an AirPods case, and a cup,” she said. One of those items was a gift for a friend.
Common Pleas Bailiff Chris Fite has participated in the program before.
“I’ve done it in the past, and as it was coming up, I just dove right into it,” he said. He had a good time, he said.
Fite escorted Shyanne Powers from Adams County Christian School that afternoon.
“It was fun. I got AirPods and things like that,” she said.
Detective Sgt. Brian Newland with the Adams County Sheriff’s Department has participated for the past four years.
“I enjoy it. I think it’s very fun. I have a good time, and it’s fun watching the kids and just getting involved in the community,” he said.
That afternoon, he escorted Mason Baldwin from the Adams County Christian School.
“I got a Pokemon trainer box, Nerf guns, a bow, a pillow and a blanket,” he said. Baldwin was all smiles and adamantly wanted Newland to pick him again next year.
Newly appointed West Union Fire Department Chief J.R. Kirker participated this year and plans to do so next year.
“It’s a good thing that we do for our community and for kids that may not be fortunate enough to get things for Christmas. We get to bring them up here and have a good day with them,” Kirker said.
His child that afternoon was Letty Scott.
“She was a shopping machine. She was shy at first, but she came out of her shell quickly,” he said, laughing.
Scott goes to Manchester Elementary School, and admittedly, was very overwhelmed by the experience, despite her smiles. She was very nervous when she was picked.
“I got a shopping cart, Barbie and makeup stuff and clothes. There was a lot of people. It made me nervous,” she said.
Carl Watson is the corrections officer with the Adams County Sheriff’s Department.
“I’ve got to do it in the years before, and it’s a phenomenal experience. It lights up a kids’ world to get something they may not be able to,” he said. He had a blast, he admitted.
He escorted David Boyer from West Union High School that afternoon.
“I loved it, I was happy,” said Boyer. He got various games and cards and hopes to participate next year.
Chief Probation Officer Blevins was, as usual, a bright and enthusiastic face among the crowd that evening.
“Shop with a Cop is one of the most rewarding programs in our county. To not participate would be devastating,” she said. She had a blast that day.
She escorted Nena Scott from Manchester Elementary School, who felt good to be picked.
“I got Yoda, a snake, some clothes and shoes,” she said. She had fun.
Information for the local farmer
WU Village Council releases official minutes of November 23 meeting
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