December 16, 2009
HURRICANE, Utah – Christmas is coming early for 100 area children this Saturday as they pair up with Hurricane police officers, firefighters, and other public safety personnel from throughout Washington County during the 16th annual “Shop with a Cop” event.
“This is a great experience for not only the kids, but for our officers as well,” said Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell. “It’s very humbling to take these kids shopping. Sometimes we have to encourage them to spend some of their money on themselves because they want to spend it on the rest of their family.”
Children ages 5 through 12 are selected for participation through the KONY Coins for Kids program. Officers from nearly every law enforcement and public safety agency in Washington County have volunteered to pair up with a child for the annual before-Christmas shopping event. Each child receives $100 to spend on gifts.
Hurricane Police Chief Lynn Excell said children from the Hurricane area would be treated to an early morning breakfast at Ted and Allen’s Sports Grill before piling into public safety vehicles for a lights-and-sirens ride to the Hurricane Wal-Mart.
“We are assisting more children this year than before,” Excell noted, adding any funds left over from the annual event will be donated to the KONY Coins for Kids program.
Ted and Allen’s owner, Bryan Millington, said he enjoys providing breakfast for the children and officers, although the morning can be a bit crazy with so many excited children in the restaurant.
“I always try to give them something special for breakfast. I’m debating serving them French toast, scrambled eggs and sausage hash,” said Millington. “Hurricane City has always been good to us and this is a nice way to repay the officers for what they do for the community and help children at the same time. It’s a lot of fun, but it is a very lively group!”
Last year, officers from the Hurricane Police Department assisted 28 children from Hurricane and other outlying cities. This year, that number grew to 40 children. Donations came from Hurricane City, the Hurricane Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart Distribution 6029 and Wal-Mart Trucking 6029, along with the Buenos Amigos service club and other organizations and individuals.
Another 60 children from the St. George area and other nearby cities will participate in the program with officers from that side of the county.
Washington County Sheriff Lt. Cory Pulsipher said his department worked with the St. George Elks Club to raise funds to sponsor the children and many employees made donations as well.
“We try to get these kids together one-on-one with an officer, “ said Pulsipher. “It really helps build a bond with the community and lets the children have a Christmas they might not otherwise have.”
Among the agencies assisting children during Saturday’s “Shop with a Cop” event are:
Hurricane Police Department
Hurricane Fire Department
Utah State Parks
Utah Highway Patrol
Zion National Park
Springdale Police Department
Washington County Sheriff’s Office
St. George Police Department
Ivins Police Department
Santa Clara Police Department
U.S. Federal Marshall’s Office
Bureau of Land Management
Federal Bureau of Investigations
Adult Probation and Parole
U.S. Forest Service
Drug Enforcement Administration
Immigration and Customs Enforcement