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‘Blue Christmas’ in Spotsy

Mekhi Tarver sits on Santa’s lap at the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office as part of Operation Blue Christmas. / Photo by Marie Sicola

BY PORTSIA SMITH

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office last night.

Nearly 150 needy children from the county’s 17 elementary schools had a chance to meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and were surprised with a few early Christmas presents.

 The event was part of Operation Blue Christmas, a three-part community celebration hosted by Sheriff Roger Harris and his staff.

 At last night’s Winter Wonderland event, each child received a winter coat, a hat, gloves, a stuffed animal and a toy, which ranged from Barbie dolls to remote-control cars to Nintendo Wii games.

“We want the kids to see a positive interaction with law enforcement officers,” said 1st Sgt. S.D. Jones, who coordinated the event. “It’s not all about making arrests and locking people up. It’s also about giving back to the community.”

That spirit of giving meant a lot to Spotsylvania resident Crystal Nichols, who has two sons, ages 6 and 7, and is also raising her 3-year-old niece.

“Their dad just got laid off right before Christmas, so this is awesome,” she said, holding back tears.

Jennifer Meyer said she had no clue why school officials asked her to bring her two daughters, Mariah and Krissy, to the sheriff’s office, but she’s glad she did.

The surprised eyes and wide smiles of the Cedar Forest Elementary School students said it all when they received a giant stuffed giraffe and a doll.

“It means a lot because their dad is in jail,” Meyer said, explaining that the girls weren’t expecting much for Christmas this year.

Linda Binion, director of counseling for Spotsylvania County schools, said the children selected to attend the event were chosen by school officials based on need and the fact that they aren’t eligible for other programs.

A majority of the toys were donated earlier this month at two Stuff-a-Cruiser events. Jones said the outpouring from the community, which filled the cruiser about nine times and literally covered it with cash, was tremendous.

Jones said a homeless man told him he knows what it’s like to go without, and the man donated what he could—a box of Cheerios.

Area churches and businesses have also donated thousands of dollars for the last leg of Operation Blue Christmas, which will allow deputies to take 35 children shopping for clothing and toys on Dec. 22.

“It is amazing what good we can all do when we work together,” said Harris. “This is what the season is all about—giving and being thankful for what we have.”

Portsia Smith:  540/374-5419

psmith@fredericksburg.com

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