Jackson County officers help brighten kids' holidays

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Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Officer Rick Hirtzel pushed a cart full of pink Saturday as he participated in this year’s Fraternal Order of Police’s Cops and Kids Christmas Program.

Hirtzel escorted 6-year-old Cecilia Pennington through the aisles of Walmart Supercenter with her guardian Judith Kennedy, while two DARE volunteers added another Barbie to the pile.

With tears in her eyes, Kennedy stood and watched Pennington’s eyes light up as she added the last toy to the cart of items. She said it was the first time they participated in the program.

“It’s wonderful that officers and kids volunteer to do this,” Kennedy said.

It’s not just about toys, either. Many children choose to purchase clothing and even winter coats, helping take care of needs that parents and guardians aren’t always able to handle.

The Cops and Kids program, previously known as Shop with a Cop, allows children in need the opportunity to take a $100 shopping trip with a police officer during the holiday season.

Throughout the year, area police officers raise funds to be able to invite kids to participate in the program, Seymour Police Department Detective C.J. Foster said Saturday morning.

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