Sunday, December 27, 2015

Officers take time out to shop for Christmas - By Michelle Libby

Five police vehicles pulled up to the front of Walmart Wednesday morning, but it wasn’t for some nefarious reason. They were there to shop for Christmas presents for children this holiday season. Armed with ages and either boy or girl, the officers set off in groups to two to shop, each group expected to spend approximately $450. 
Officer Gene Gallant had an early game plan. “My mindset was that the new Star Wars movie was coming out, get Star Wars stuff.” 

The officers kept track of how much they spent while getting great gifts for the children. From Legos to dress up items, camping gear to electronics, the baskets were filled with Christmas cheer.
“It’s for the kids,” said union president Jason Burke. “It’s nice when people compliment you. It’s not something we hear every day.” 

As officer Gallant wandered around Walmart, people stopped him and gave donations for a few dollars to a $100 bill. “It’s nice to give back to the community. And for those kids who won’t get anything for Christmas. On a personal level, it’s fun for us. It’s a blast. It’s really neat when people walk up to you to give you a donation,” Gallant said. Donations totally almost $200 during the time they were in the store.
One woman said that “Other people were doing it, so I said, ‘What the heck? It’s for toys. It’s the Windham Police Department.’” 

The money was raised during a yearbook fundraiser the police department does each year, where they sell ads in the book that focuses on a theme within the police department. Last year it was specialties within the department, according to Officer Jim Cook. They also receive regular donations throughout the year. 

The union also spends money on Special Olympics, DARE and occasionally a sports team that made it to play offs out of state. 

The officer who shopped were Burke, Josh Katuzny, Gallant, Ray Williams, Brandon Ladd, Matt Cyr, Cook and Sue Rogers, the administrative assistant to the police department.

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