Washington Police and Fire Services provide some Christmas cheer

Published 2:06 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

While most people do a little Christmas shopping this time of year, it’s not everyone who gets to go on a Christmas shopping spree with police officers, firefighters, a former NFL wide receiver and Sparky the fire dog.

One select group did exactly that on Wednesday. The Washington Walmart was filled with children selected for Washington Police and Fire Services’ annual “Shop with a Safety Officer” event.

Through Beaufort County Department of Social Services and Pamlico Pals, children with special needs were invited to fill their wish lists at Walmart, escorted by police, fire, probation, DSS, City of Washington Parks and Rec personnel, along with Terrance Copper, a Washington native and former Kansas City Chief.

Thirty children took part in this year’s event, according to Kimberly Grimes, Washington Police and Fire Services crime prevent and community outreach manager. Each child was allowed $160 for toys, clothes and other items on their wish lists. In conjunction with “Shop with a Safety Officer,” the department has expanded its Christmas giving by reaching out to the elderly and “adopting” 130 residents at River Trace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Grimes teamed up with day care centers A New Adventure and Start Right Learning Center to provide a little Christmas cheer for River Trace residents.

“We are, along with A New Adventure, we’re going out and giving gift bags of hygiene products and some sweets, and the daycare kids made Christmas cards for all the residents,” Grimes said.

Washington Police and Fire Services Chief Stacy Drakeford said many people contributed to the success of “Shop with a Safety Officer,” including civic organizations and several individuals, in addition to Copper.

Copper said he’s glad to take part and had high praise for local departments.

“I’m just thankful to be able to be a part of this amazing event. It’s awesome to see the kids’ and parents’ faces while they are shopping. You can tell it really means a lot to them,” Copper said. “I’m not just saying this because I’m from Washington, but our police and fire department run by Chief Drakeford is one of the best in the state, especially with Kim Grimes quarterbacking the events. They all just work so well together in helping the community.”