19th annual Shop with a Cop
By Airman 1st Class Jessica H. Evans, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published December 09, 2015
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Local law enforcement and first responders partnered with Mountain Home AFB Security Forces Squadron for the 19th annual Shop with a Cop event, Dec. 5, to provide an opportunity for less-fortunate children in the community to enjoy some holiday festivities.
Starting with a breakfast, the children met the volunteers with whom they'd spend the morning with. Food and fellowship brought holiday spirits alive, with a brief visit from Santa and singing of holiday carols building enthusiasm for the endeavors to come.
After breakfast, law enforcement and children piled into patrol cars, bringing the small town's morning to life with sirens blaring. After the hullabaloo, the crowd headed to a local shopping center to do some holiday shopping, gift-wrapping and to spend one-on-one time with Santa.
Each child was given $75 to spend on themselves or anyone of their choosing. For many of the children, this may have been their only chance to get a gift, yet quite a few still selflessly got something for someone else.
"I'm going to get my dad a pony," giggled Preslie Duffel-Zurn, a young participant.
"For momma - a game," her brother Ozzie exclaimed.
Shop with a Cop not only allows less-fortunate children to have a positive holiday experience, but also gives law enforcement a chance to give back and build up community ties.
"I know they're getting a gift, but the experience is a gift itself," said Brittany Duffel-Zurn, mother of two of the participants. "There are some kids that are kind of afraid of police officers, even military personnel [and] firefighters; this kind of gives them a chance to realize that they're there to help them."
Tech. Sgt. Robert Wilson, 366th SFS flight chief, has attended the event every year that he's been in Mountain Home, seeing it as an opportunity to shed a different light on the role of law enforcement and to provide children with a holiday experience they might not get otherwise.
"It's always a good time to see the kids," Wilson said. "A lot of them are extremely grateful; a lot of them epitomize what the holiday season is all about - giving, giving some time [and] making the kids happy for a short while."