A Perfectly-Timed “Shop With A Cop”

Saturday, December 15, 2012
- photo by Nathan Hartwig

 Child Protective Services and street cops most often see the worst that society can do to children, sometimes through misfortune...but mostly through neglect and abuse.

The names of those children are submitted by both of these agencies, and every Christmas the local Fraternal Order of Police carries out an event known as "Shop with a Cop".

This event is funded entirely by checks from private citizens, concerned local businesses, one spectacular charitable foundation in particular, and the cops themselves, and it has grown every year in dollars, officers, and children.

 This year, more than 40 cops came together at 7 a.m. while many of you slept and held the hands of over 80 elementary-age school kids and took them on a shopping spree that in most cases they would've never had an opportunity to take otherwise...an event where disadvantaged kids get to do something nice with a cop, instead of only seeing them in a time of stress, if not tragedy.  I could say it’s all “for the kids”, but I assure you…this is for your local cops as well. 

I say it every year, but it's always true: This year was the most successful ever in our eyes, and it was a little more touching than usual given the horror that transpired the day before in Connecticut, which overrode another story slightly closer to home in which that same morning Memphis police officer Martoiya Lang, only 32 years old and a mother of four, lost her life in the line of duty, her partner being seriously wounded by gunshots as well.

This year it was different holding a little girl's hand as we cruised those aisles, surrounded by all these other children who were there with such hope in their eyes. 

Behind every smile on every cop, parent, foster parent, and social worker was that hint of sadness from yesterday, the feeling of reality that dawns on you when you realize the nightmare from the day before is actually a reality that will never, ever go completely away.  But this event blocked it out, if for just a little while.  This event was “Good” in the most pure and simple meaning of the word.

Today, we held those little hands a little tighter, and for a little bit longer…and not without a few tears here and there as we appreciated this event more than maybe any other year since it was cast in the shadow of something so dark just the day before.  And long before it was over – maybe even the instant it began?  That shadow was cast away.  There were no “bad guys” here - just good ones.  Very good ones.

Besides the members (and family members) of Rock City Lodge #22, this event never could have taken place without those amazing workers at Child Protective Services and the stunning generosity of the local Miller (Industries) Foundation that literally makes this possible, as well as the Target store on Gunbarrel Road that both contributes and hosts this event and the Gunbarrel Chick-fil-A that fed us afterwards. 

On behalf of the local Rock City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, let me give thanks to all the volunteers...and thanks to those kids who were there to remind us all of what we fight for, and in reality, what we live for. 

Sgt. Craig W. Joel

1st Vice President, Rock City Lodge #22

Chattanooga Police Officer

-Shop with a Cop is not subsidized by tax dollars. This program is only made possible by donations to the fund. The FOP extends its deepest gratitude to the Miller Foundation, Target, Chick-Fil-A, and the individual donors who helped make this year's event a huge success. Donations are collected throughout the year, and anyone interested in making a donation to the SHOP WITH A COP fund can contact the local FOP at 423 504-7719 or hewitt_t@chattanooga.gov (Sgt. Toby Hewitt, president, Fraternal Order of Police Rock City Lodge 22)

 

- Photo2 by Nathan Hartwig

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Time To End The Kiser Circus

What a circus and waste of time to just watch two people lie to the court in regards to keeping Kiser alive.  Kiser killed Deputy Bond, but here he is still breathing and concocting more lies so he won't be killed. We should have killed Kiser years ago. I'd be more than happy to be the one who pulls the switch to snuff out that killer of a very good man (Donald Bond) whom ... (click for more)

Shooting At Woodlawn Apartments Claims Life Of 20-Year-Old Male; Victim Shot Multiple Times

A shooting late Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments has claimed the life of a 20-year-old male. At approximately 10:57 p.m.. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to a gunshot wound call at 2300 Wilson St. Hamilton County EMS transported the victim to a local hospital, where he later succumbed to multiple life-threatening gunshot wounds. The victim has been transported ... (click for more)

Erlanger Refinancing To Provide Cash For New Children's/Women's Hospital, $50 Million Erlanger East Expansion, $8.5 Million Surgical Improvements

Erlanger Health System officials said an overhaul of the hospital's debt will include $70 million in new loans for several major hospital projects - including $11.5 million toward a new $30 million Children's/Women's Hospital. The overall cost of the latter facility is $30 million, but the hospital is seeking significant outside gifts and support. It will also pay for a $50 million ... (click for more)

Tennessee Wastes No Time Shifting Attention To Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – L ittle time had passed following Tennessee's 34-3 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night before the challenge that lies ahead this week crossed the mind of the UT staff. In past years, a loss of that type could have had a lasting impact on the psyche of the team. But  Tennessee coach Butch Jones   still sees his team progressing, both mentally ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)