Last Thursday officers from Windham Police Department swarmed into Walmart armed with baskets and a budget. Their mission was to buy Christmas presents for children in Windham who might not have presents under the tree this year.
The Windham Police Association raises money through fundraising drives to pay for the gifts. Each pair of officers kept track of the money they were spending as they loaded up their carts with bikes, Legos, iPods, Frozen toys, balls, helmets and so much more.
“We try to get something for every age range,” said Officer Gene Gallant, who based his buying decisions on what his son might like.
Officer Eric Quatrano knew all about Barbies and dolls thanks to his young daughter. The only thing they didn’t buy…
“We aren’t purchasing fire trucks today,” one officer said with a laugh.
Anna Gold approached the officers and asked what they were doing. When she heard she pulled out a $100 bill and handed it to them to help with the shopping. “You guys put your lives on the line every day,” she said. “It’s the least I can do.”
Terry Bickford also felt generous and donated $50 to the cause. In between the donations and shopping, people stopped the officers to thank them for their work and their presence during the past week. Just before check out, Tom Mailer from Auburn gave the officers another $20 to help with the purchase.
The officers donated their time to shop for close to $2,000 worth of Christmas presents, which they drove over to the Windham Social Service building to be passed out to children in need.
The officers who helped were Tom Hamilton, Quatrano, Lee Maher, Jim Cook, Gene Gallant, president of the Windham Police Association Jason Burke and Justin Hudnor.
“It’s a blast,” said Quatrano as he pulled another toy from the shelf.