WASHINGTON COUNTY – The alarming sound of emergency vehicles across Washington County Saturday morning were not sounding an emergency but rather the annual KONY Coins for Kids “Shop with a Cop” event.
Every Christmas season, law enforcement agencies from Washington County take children shopping.
This year they had 100 kids to take shopping and the law enforcement agencies went out to local businesses ahead of time to help raise the money to take underprivileged kids in the community to local Wal-Mart stores for Christmas gifts.
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Videocast by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
“You have got over 100 officers and about 100 kids and all the rest of the volunteers, we are 250-260 people,” Sheriff Cory Pulsipher said. “It is a big group so we had to find a little bit larger venue to keep everyone together.”
In earlier years, the Elks Lodge was a primary sponsor and venue for the program. As it has grown, the venue shifted to the county’s fairground facilities at the Washington County Regional Park in Hurricane.
A breakfast of pancakes, eggs, yogurt and milk, was served as children were introduced to “their cops” for the morning. This time was primarily for the kids and cops to get to know one another.
Next, the kids were taken to the front seats of the various kinds of police cars for the ride of their lives with lights flashing and sirens singing, traveling east and to shop at Hurricane and Bloomington Wal-Mart stores.
On arrival at Wal-Mart the kids were surprised when a red helicopter spiraled down, landed in the parking lot and out popped Santa and Mrs. Claus, in to help with the shopping.
“My reindeer this year were just plum-tuckered out of all the things they had to fly over,” Santa said.
“They are getting ready for Christmas Eve so we were just fill-ins for the days,” Mrs. Claus said. “It’s great that Mr. and Mrs. Claus come all the way from the North Pole early and that they get to rest their reindeers up,” helicopter pilot Steve Gilbert said.
Being Santa’s personal pilot has been a lifelong wish of his, Gilbert said, joined by his wife Cindy Gilbert.
Community volunteers and Wal-Mart employees greeted officers and children with the clapping, vibrant smiles, and shouts of “Merry Christmas!”
“A Razor Scooter,” brother and sister Michael and Baylee Madrid said with shouts calling out what they want for Christmas. “A nerf-gun!” Hunter Spreeman said with equal enthusiasm – and volume.
The Law Enforcement agencies involved in Shop with a Cop focus on providing Christmas for families and giving back to the community.
“It is another great year. It is very exciting to help put this on again this year,” Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said. “We want to help these families and these kids to be able to have something for Christmas … we want to be able to give back.”
To give back to the community this holiday season KONY Coins for Kids is an organization that provides Christmas for disadvantaged children in Southern Utah. Coins for Kids has a goal of $125,000 but is falling about $30,000 short as of Friday. All money raised for Coins for Kids comes from the community and corporate donations. For more information on volunteering or donating visit coinsforkids.net.
Shop with a Cop could not have been possible without the help of the following sponsors:
Wal-Mart Distribution Center, Hurricane Wal-Mart, Washington Wal-Mart, Bloomington Wal-Mart, Red Mountain Spa, KONY Coins for Kids, Cache Valley Bank, Text180.com, Don & Joann Ipson, Sysco Foods, Mountain America Credit Union, Cedar Post Pawn, Biggest Loser Resort, Lightfoots Convenience Store, Calvary Chapel Hurricane Valley, State Bank of Southern Utah, Western Mining and Minerals, Desert Rodders Club, and Boulevard Home Furnishings, as well as anonymous individual and private donors.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
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- Sirens sound, joy abounds, ‘Shop with a Cop’ storms county; STGnews videocast and photo gallery – 2012
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