By Bill Robinson
Register Staff Reports
By Bill Robinson
Most accounts of Santa Claus’ assistants describe them as rather small people wearing silly green-and-red suits and hats. The long, pointed toes of their equally silly shoes roll up in curls.
However, on Saturday at the Richmond Walmart, 15 tall, stout men in gray uniforms and shinny black shoes were stuffing toys, clothes, shoes and other goodies into bags for children as Santa watched in approval.
These definitely weren’t elves from the North Pole. They were Kentucky State Police troopers taking deserving children on the annual Shop with a Trooper outing.
Some 128 children, age 5 to 12, and their parents in the 11 counties served by KSP Post 7 in Richmond went home with presents, thanks to Santa, the troopers and community donors, according to Sgt. Toby Coyle, who coordinates the program.
The value of each child’s purchase came to about $115, Coyle said. Most of the items were toys, but the troopers ensure that a significant portion also are practical items, such as clothing.
In addition to Richmond, where 85 children shopped with troopers, 43 shopped with the gray-clad troopers at the Stanford Walmart.
Another 40 children age five or younger received a stuffed animal, coloring book, coat and some candy and fruit during the outing, Coyle said.
The troopers were joined in Richmond by seven community volunteers, including some graduates of KSP’s Citizens Police Academy.
The troopers collect donations throughout the year for the program from both businesses and individuals, Coyle said. Donations can be made to an individual trooper or brought to the Post 7 office across from Roy Kidd Stadium at the corner of Kit Carson Drive and the Eastern Bypass.
The troopers always request and accept donations in person and never use telephone solicitors, Coyle said.
The KSP Post also will accept used clothing and toys in good condition for distribution.
“We want to thank all of the donors and volunteers who helped make Christmas much brighter for these children and their families,” he said.