RIO GRANDE — Rio Grande village officials and police partnered with Rio Grande Elementary School to provide a Christmas shopping opportunity for four grade-school students on Wednesday.
According to village officials, the village in the past had put on a Christmas dinner for village employees most years. This year, Lt. Josh Davies, of Rio Grande Police Department, suggested the village take the money it would spend on the dinner and speak with the elementary school in town to provide Christmas for four children selected by school staff.
“We used to have a Christmas dinner,” Davies said. “I’ve always had this idea of wanting to do this ‘Shop with a Cop’ for kids. The mayor gave me the money from the Christmas dinner to spend on the kids. We split it between four kids to purchase Christmas (gifts) for themselves. One of the requirements was that they also purchase a gift for a family member prior to purchasing their gifts. Mom, Dad or grandma, it had to be somebody in the family.”
Fellow Rio Grande officer and student resource officer Daniel Day and Davies, as well as Rio Grande Elementary Principal Jeremy Hout, took the four students the morning of Dec. 9.
“This is always something I’ve wanted to do since joining law enforcement to show some type of positive influence,” Davies said. “It’s to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and children. We want kids to feel comfortable knowing that we (police) are there to help, plus it gives back to the community. We finally got to do it this year and I feel it was a success.”
Davies said that members of the community have expressed positive feelings and compliments with Day being there to help influence children at Rio Grande Elementary. He recently returned to service with the police this month after a brief break away.
“This is the seventh year the village has foregone Christmas to give to someone who may not have it as well,” said Rio Grande Mayor Matt Easter. “We hope other municipalities will follow suit and do as we do. We have a very community-minded police force. I was pretty impressed our guys (police) partnered with the school to provide to the kids.”
Davies is a full-time officer with the Rio Grande Police Department and Day is a part-time officer. According to Davies, he is the sole officer in the department with school resource officer certifications.
Davies hopes to continue the tradition of providing for Rio Grande students into the future.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.