Troopers conduct holiday shopping spree for children

December 07, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

STANFORD -There were plenty of state troopers on hand for the shopping cart traffic jam in Wal-Mart's toy aisles Saturday.

It was the Kentucky State Police Richmond Post's annual shopping spree for less fortunate children. Each child was given $100 to spend at Wal-Mart, and a trooper to help shop.

Trooper Clyde Bertram made fast friends with Stanley Pike, 7. Before they made one complete trip around the truck-and-robot aisle, Pike's cart was full.

"I like everything toys," Pike said. "I got all kinds of toys."

When Pike spied a radio control Toyota Celica that he liked better than the monster truck already in his cart, Bertram helped him switch it.


"Stanley looks for the deals," Bertram said.

"Yeah, I look for the deal," Pike said.

This is Bertram's third year to participate and he said he found it rewarding.

"The kids are really appreciative," he said.

Troopers raised enough for 25 kids from Lincoln, Garrard, Boyle, Mercer and Jessamine counties. There aren't any official fundraisers or solicitations, said Lt. Greg Baird, who heads up the program. People who know about the program just donate, he said.

Wal-Mart donated a large portion, and the McDonald's here provided free meals to the kids and their parents after the shopping trip.

"If you want to see a bunch of troopers, who are in a serious business, melt - you'll see it here," Baird said. "There are always one or two kids who turn your heart upside down."

Paige French, 5, planned to buy presents for herself and her cat, Angel. Her prize finds were a Swan Lake Barbie, and a makeup kit. The cat didn't fair so well, but French was sure Angel would still have something under the tree. Perhaps they can share Swan Lake Ken.

Before the kids went into the store they were surprised with a visit from Santa, who had hitched a ride in the Stanford Fire Department's ladder truck. Before Santa got a single "Merry Christmas" out, he was ambushed with hugs.

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