NEW MARTINSVILLE, W.Va. (WTRF) – They arrived in school buses from the Switzerland of Ohio district, bound for the nearest Walmart, across the river in New Martinsville.
Many of the officers just came off the night shift. But this project requires all hands on deck, every year.
A 911 dispatcher was paired with a six-year-old girl.
“She likes fancy clothes and she likes LOL toys,” said Dispatcher Alex Austin.
“And JoJo Shoes!” added the child with a smile.
The kids choose what they want.
“He’s ten, and he likes every kind of Hot Wheel there is,” said Deputy
Dawson Weekley, referring to the boy he was helping.
“Maybe some video games for my Play Station 3!” said 11-year-old Brandon Weekley.
The parents send along with a list of pertinent information, like clothing and shoe sizes.
“We take care of the needs first, and then we let ’em go wild in the toy aisle and get what they want,” noted Deputy Andrew Ridley.
Other shoppers love to watch.
“It just gives me goosebumps,” said Cecil Johnson of Middlebourne. “The kids have such big smiles, and so do the officers!”
But some of the children’s choices were heart-wrenching.
Monroe County Sheriff Charles Black said one boy spent his whole allotment on gifts for the rest of his family.
“All he got for himself was an alarm clock so he can get up earlier, and he even got some diapers for his baby sister,” said Sheriff Black. “Some of these really touch your heart, but then that’s why we do it.”
They shopped with 60 children on Wednesday, and another 60 on Thursday.
One officer said the gifts are part of it, but there’s a mindset that is also important.
“It shows the kids we’re not bad guys,” said Deputy Dawson Weekley. “We’re just here to help them.”
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