Police Steward Throughout the Holiday Season

Police Steward Throughout the Holiday Season

By Stephen Owsinski

Among many feats performed by cops, reaching out to people from all walks of life is a staple ingredient that testifies to why they took the police officer’s oath, and the holiday season is ripe with examples of true-blue blessings.

A few days ago, a childhood friend of mine posted to her social media page, asking for anyone to take a minute to fill out/mail a Christmas card to an elderly gentleman who told her he felt lonely at the assisted living facility where she is a caregiver in New York, underscoring that he had not received any Hallmarks.

I pray the fellow will receive cards from my friend’s family and others in her circle.

However, I recommended she contact the local law enforcement agency to request a seasonal visit from men and women in police uniform…because cops do enjoy spending time with old-timers. Their wisdom is a gift to behold. That is what my department does every year.

Albeit retired, I cherish the moments experienced with various seniors whose eyes sparked with jubilation when LEOs lit lives, an apropos culmination during a special season meant to rejoice. I never thought I’d sit with various highly decorated military veterans whose epic stories riveted me—still do.

(Photo courtesy of the Branson Police Department.)

Such memorable events are evolving here in Florida, with plenty of police departments and sheriff’s offices sending over law enforcement officers to spend time with folks who are largely shut-ins that could use a bevy of badges to lift spirits in the house.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) logged in what they called the “Language of Love,” with deputies (including the sheriff and his command staff) visiting a senior living center, bearing gifts, and spending time with elders.

“Team HCSO and the Sheriff’s Hispanic Advisory Council met with seniors at the Blessed Sacrament Manor apartments in Palm River to hand out more than 70 bags of food, toiletries, and other essentials. Thanks to our SHAC volunteers and deputies, we enjoyed lunch together, and there were plenty of hugs and smiles!”

The response from one of the seniors captivated me, especially underscoring how other nations’ cops do not do what law enforcement officers in America do, specifically during the holiday season…

“This is a miracle. This country is the country of marvels. Marvelous. The confidence there is in the people from the sheriff’s office is magnificent. This is true love, because in none of the countries that we come from does the police come to deliver food to your home.”

HCSO Sheriff Chad Chronister said it well: “It is extremely important to always take a moment to spend some time with our seniors, remind them just how important they are to the lives of so many.” Harkens back to the first few paragraphs of this piece, huh?

(Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Hispanic Advisory Council.)

Regarding this visit by uniformed deputies, a senior center administrator emphasized how her residents embrace the gift-giving visit: “It’s not [just] about the bags [of gifts and keepsakes]. They feel like they’re very safe when you guys come [to share time].”

It’s a beautiful thing!

Community of Unity

Considering what LEOs do for our elder population, let’s turn to the general public and witness what various police organizations do for community members around Christmastime.

The North Port Police Department officers and their union staff pooled resources and purchased a wide array of gifts for all ages. On top of that, they meandered through their local Walmart stores and walked up to people waiting in line, paying for their cartloads of groceries to offset the inflationary burdens many are especially grappling with this year.

One of the NPPD posts offered footage of what this looked like, calling it a “Community of Unity,” involving 14 local businesses whose proprietors/figureheadcontributed funds anddonated gifts to members of the public.

North Port PD personnel do this every year, calling it Operation Santa Surprise.

What gets ya in the feels is how cops, as always, tap into resources and obtain information, from which they learn of citizens in their jurisdiction who are especially embattled by circumstances such as cancer afflictions. Cancer patients can always use a helping hand…and North Port police officers delivered and then some. Watch…

Similarly, besides rolling out gift-giving ventures for the citizens in their jurisdiction, officers and dispatchers with the Tampa Police Department (TPD) provided a heartfelt focus on victims of crime.

(Photo courtesy of the Tampa Police Department.)

TPD personnel partnered with Target’s Heroes and Helpers Program, spending hours shopping, wrapping, and delivering hope in the form of presents and caring compassion, shouldering people scarred by victimization from criminals. Although it may be hard to rejoice after tragic experiences hijack the psyche, cops come to the aid and do as much as possible to assure (reassure) victimized folks that they have supportive allies with justice badges. Gifts are the glue for bringing individuals together.

Sometimes togetherness means public safety entities teaming up to bring as much joy as possible to children who can’t necessarily be close to their superhero cops and firefighters due to hospitalizations requiring safe distances and clinical applications for healing hearts.

Public safety professionals from the Vermont State Police and various jurisdictions’ fire/rescue agencies partnered and put together gobs of gifts for inpatient children at the University of Vermont Medical Center Children’s Hospital.

(Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.)

As cops and firefighters catered cheer to ailing children via ground-level expositions of police cruisers and fire engines chock full of gifts to thrill youngsters and help them to know they are in the hearts and minds of heroes, federal cops got in on the blitz of blessings.

(Photo courtesy of the University of Vermont Medical Center Children’s Hospital.)

“Santa traded in his sleigh bells for rotor blades to make a grand entrance at UVM Children’s Hospital. With the precision of a seasoned pilot, he touched down on campus ready to deliver holiday magic to the brave little ones inside. Santa’s heli-elves (US Border Patrol) worked tirelessly to load up the chopper with specially wrapped presents, ensuring that each gift sparkles with the enchantment of the season,” a UVM Children’s Hospital bulletin explained.

Giving from Within

Given how embattled the nation’s law enforcement network is nowadays —thanks to the arrogance of politics and the insecurities of minions concentrated more on destruction than construction— smaller police organizations lacking the necessary tools to more effectively fulfill the protect-and-serve mission were gifted equipment from larger law enforcement agencies.

Although Tazers are not necessarily new in the public safety profession, some crime-fighting departments still lack the devices designed to temporarily incapacitate combatants to more safely subdue and preclude any/further violent actions.

In the Sunshine State, one example of this is the Florida Highway Patrol gifting several modest-sized police departments with a supply of Tazers.

(Photo courtesy of the Florida Highway Patrol.)

“Yesterday, Major Jeffrey Bissainthe presented the Quincy Police Department, Midway Police Department, Sneads Police Department, and the Chattahoochee Police Department with a donation of surplus Tasers from the Florida Highway Patrol.”

Mutual aid among law enforcement agencies is crucial, with one department providing resources to another when needed, but coming into ownership of certain equipment formerly disallowed by shoestring budgets is a gift good for all seasons.

Giving from Outside

One of the many police practices around Christmastime consists of public safety agencies gathering outside children’s hospitals (like the gathering in Vermont, shown above), decked out with boughs of holly and flashing lights illuminating the night for ailing youngsters to feel the warmth of cops and firefighters while health reasons restrict typical holiday traditions, instead being relegated to a gurney in a sterilized institution.

Annually, delegations of police cruisers and fire engines stage outside various children’s hospitals across the country, piquing the interest of boys and girls being treated for various significant health conditions, prohibited from public interactions. Enter cops and firefighters…

“Early this week, we were blessed to be able to participate in Children’s Mercy Kansas City’s Parade of Lights. Emergency vehicles from across the area lined the streets surrounding the hospital, flashing their lights and blaring their sirens to bring holiday cheer to those inside.

“For patients and families spending the holidays away from home, it was a wonderful way to demonstrate that the community is thinking about them, and we were happy to play a small part in that,” wrote an Excelsior Springs Police Department spokesperson.

LEOs with the Nampa Police Department in Idaho assembled for the annual “Shine the Light” event outside the St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.

This is what it looked like thanks to the members of the New York State Police and other local police departments joining the cause:

These examples (and many more just like ‘em) of cops selflessly providing good cheer and tidings during the holiday season are not suppressed by any anti-police minds salivating over derailing public safety feats and humanitarianism.

Moreover, law enforcement officers clandestinely practice such selfless acts throughout each 365-day cycle, ensuring happy hearts. As the gentleman said up top: “This country is the country of marvels,” and cops have their names all over it.