Season of Giving

December 2012

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18A I WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2012 The Sentinel-Echo I Baptist Regional Medical Center and the Sentinel-Echo are proud to bring you a four-week long series about our local charitable organizations. Follow the series on Wednesdays and Fridays from now until December 21. Shop with a Cop makes Christmas special for all involved BY MAGEN MCCRAREY Staff writer On Saturday, Dec. 15, Shop with a Cop will unwrap Christmas memories for children in need throughout Laurel County. Shop with a Cop is an annual event, providing approximately 200 children with a chance to purchase items as they are guided aisle to aisle in the local Kmart store by members of the Kentucky State Police and Vehicle Enforcement, the London Police Department, and the Laurel County Sheriff���s Of���ce. The event has been held each year in Laurel County for 17 years. ���It���s a joyful time to see the kids,��� said London Police Chief Stewart Walker. ���It���s uplifting to walk around with them and talk with them, to see the look in their faces when they���re picking their items. It���s also heartbreaking, too, because these might be the only gifts they receive for Christmas.��� ���It really helps them to see that we���re there to help, and to show that we���re not always there to take mommies and daddies to jail but that we are really there for them. So when the kids grow older, should they ���nd themselves lost or in any trouble, they know they can come to us because they know we are there to help,��� added Detective Gary Prof���tt of the London Police. Last weekend, Laurel County Sheriff John Root took the initiative to set an of���ce goal of raising $10,000 for this year���s program and surpassed that goal within a two-day period. Members of the community have donated anywhere from $20 to $1,000, he said, allowing the opportunity to provide for around 120 more children this year. ���You hate to take some and leave some behind,��� Root said. ���It dawned on me that we need to raise more money.��� ���Times are hard this year, and there are a lot of requests,��� said Virginia Wattenbarger, wife of Don Wattenbarger who spearheaded the Shop with a Cop program 15 years ago. Don Wattenbarger is a retired member of the Laurel County Sheriff���s Of���ce and has been for more than 18 years. The Wattenbargers began the program with about 16 children participating each year. They walked door to door, business to business asking for donations to sustain the annual program. Since those ���rst couple of years, the number of children provided for has exponentially increased. ���We���re going to provide as long as Don���s got a breath in his body; there���s no doubt about that,��� Virginia Wattenbarger said. ���This has made Christmas (special) for us for many, many years and hopefully it does for many years to come.��� Children are provided $100 each to shop for a coat, shoes, underclothes, other clothing, a couple of toys and toboggan. Names of children allowed to participate are provided by Laurel County School���s Family Resource and Youth Service Centers. The children not only encompass those who live in impoverished areas, but also those whose families have ARCHIVED PHOTO BY NITA JOHNSON Kentucky State Police troopers, London City Police of���cers, and Laurel County Sheriff���s deputies participate in the annual Shop with a Cop program that provides $100 worth of clothing and toys to local needy children for Christmas. lost their homes in a ���re or even a child battling a life-threatening illness. Pledges to the program are accepted all year long by calling the Wattenbargers, the London Police Department or the Laurel County Sheriff���s Of���ce. Checks for the program are requested to be made to ���Shop with a Cop.��� ���When I can go to work one day out of 365 and experience something like that, it makes me look forward to another 365 days so that I can be a part of something like that again,��� Prof���tt said. MMCCRAREY@SENTINEL-ECHO.COM Welcomes Dr. Michael White Joining Dr. Francis Domurat and his staff Expert Cancer Care, Right Here in Our Community NOW Scheduling New Patients 606 523-1934 2 Trillium Way Suite 305 Corbin KY Member of Baptist Healthcare Systems, Inc.

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