Home Local News Rockingham PD helps kids in 9th year of Shop with a Cop

Rockingham PD helps kids in 9th year of Shop with a Cop

Sgt. Lee Bailey pushes 10-year-old Kendal Rushing through Walmart during the annual Shop with a Cop program. See more photos at the bottom of this story.
William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Kendal Rushing didn’t fill up her Walmart cart Friday afternoon, but did reach her spending limit.

The 10-year-old was one of 10 children paired up with officers for the Rockingham Police Department’s annual Shop With a Cop program.

According to Chief George Gillenwater, the kids are chosen by the school system.

While many of the children picked out a variety of toys, Rushing rode in the cart, pushed by Sgt. Lee Bailey, urging him to go “faster” — then “Stop!” when they got to the shoes section.

Patrol Officer Jan Owens started the program nine years ago.

“She runs it, she does everything, I just show up,” said Chief George Gillenwater. “She does an amazing job and I think it’s just wonderful that she started this thing and now we’ve got the sheriff’s office doing it … the joy’s being spread around and I think that’s just great.”

Sheriff Mark Gulledge said his office was able to help more than 40 children last Saturday through the second annual Shop with a Deputy program.

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The department received multiple donations from organizations and individuals to help buy the gifts, including from the second annual Back the Blue motorcycle ride held during the summer.

The family of late officer Donovan Young also contributes to the program each year.

Those funds were enough for each child to have a $250 tab.

“They usually go over, which is fine,” Gillenwater laughed. “We’re more than happy to accommodate that.”

After ringing up the purchases, the kids and cops posed for a photo and several officers helped one mother pack her vehicle, thanking them for the assistance.

“We just appreciate everybody that donates to us, the sheriff’s office, Hamlet, the fire department,” Gillenwater said. “It means a lot to these kids. It’s a great thing.”

 

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.