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Saturday, Dec. 6 was cold.
It was definitely a day for gloves and a warm, winter coat.
Olivia, a bright-eyed, pint-sized blond, didn’t have a coat to call her own, but by the end of Shop With A Trooper, she was dancing around, proudly showing to anyone who would look, her new hot pink coat with a hood.
A dozen troopers and supervisors from Kentucky State Police Post 6 in Dry Ridge took 25 children from 10 counties to breakfast and lunch, followed by shopping and visits with Santa as part of the Shop With A Trooper program.
This is the third year that Post 6 has hosted the event. Detective Fred Scroggin was the driving force behind planning, obtaining sponsors and coordinating the event.
“We aren’t all born with silver spoons,” Scroggin said. “I like to do things with and for kids and this is a great program.”
The day started when troopers picked up the children from Grant, Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken, Robertson, Nicholas, Bourbon and Harrison counties and stopped by the Dry Ridge Fire House for breakfast and a visit from Santa.
Each child received a portable DVD player and the movie “Polar Express.”
Next came shopping at Wal-Mart in Dry Ridge where each child was able to spend $100 for clothes and toys.
“The boots,” Olivia said. “I love them,” she said, stomping the brown suede boots with fleece peeking out of the top, as she paraded up and down the aisles.
“I want to wear them home,” she said.
Trooper Jeremy Moore had never experienced the shopping trip, but was glad that he volunteered to participate.
“I’ve enjoyed it, from picking them up and seeing a need to bringing her here and seeing how excited she is, that’s nice. It definitely made my Christmas,” Moore said.
Detective Kevin Flick assisted a young man he met at Trooper Island camp this summer with his shopping.
“He’s a great shopper,” Flick said, as Lukas cruised the toy aisles looking for a race track.
“This is fun,” Lukas said. “It’s not every day you get to spend $100.”
One of the children from Pendleton County spent only $10 of the $100 on something they wanted. The rest of the money went to buy presents for their family.
“This is what makes this program so good,” Scroggin said. “It makes a difference to them and allows them to see us as not just someone who arrests people and puts them in jail but as people who care.”
For Emily Horton, an officer with Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement, this was her first time participating, but an experience she enjoyed.
“It was a lot of fun,” Horton said. “I enjoyed watching the kids walk through and pick out things they wanted. I’ll definitely do this again.”
Dacia Wood, a dispatcher at Post 6, has participated several times.
“This is the best part of what they (the police) do all year long,” she said. “Seeing these kids get to know us as good guys, that’s awesome.”
When the shopping was complete, the children were treated to lunch at Edwardo’s Pizza in Williamstown and another visit with Santa.
The program is funded by fundraisers and donations. This downturn in the economy pinched the amount available for each child.
“This year was tough,” Scroggin said. “We didn’t have all the donors that we’ve had in the past. We couldn’t do it without the support of local businesses.”
Scroggin said Wal-Mart donated $2,000. Troopers received donations on the day of the event from other Wal-Mart shoppers. They’ve also received $400 from Kroger which will be used to buy food baskets for distribution to other needy families.
“Saturday was a great day,” Scroggin said. “It’s the nature of our job to be on the receiving end of bad news, like arresting someone or telling someone a loved one has been killed in an accident. To be able to bring good news, that’s special.”