Monday, 21 December 2020 14:14

Hamlet Police Department adopts grandmother raising teen grandsons for Christmas

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The Hamlet Police Department adopted a family for the second consecutive Christmas, providing toys for the kids and household items for the entire family. The Hamlet Police Department adopted a family for the second consecutive Christmas, providing toys for the kids and household items for the entire family. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — Jennie Merriman, like many people, has had a rough time in 2020.

However, the year was made a little better Monday, thanks to the Hamlet Police Department.


Merriman and her two grandsons, 14-year-old Knowledge Short and 13-year-old Jermaine Short, were adopted by the department this year and received Christmas gifts.

“This is such a blessing,” Merriman told interim Chief Anthony Moss and several other officers standing outside City Hall after a departmental SUV was loaded up.

Moss said the family was picked by the department’s Records Manager Sheree McInnis and Community Liaison Mike Patrick.

Merriman said she lost her daughter, the boys’ mother, in June and has also had to undergo two hip replacements within six months.

“I was shocked … I couldn’t believe it,” Merriman said about learning that she and her grandsons had been selected by the department. “All I could do is fall down on my knees and say, ‘Thank you, God.’”

She said it was “a blessing” to receive the gifts — which included household items and canned goods, as well as basketballs and a goal for the boys — from the department.

Merriman said when she told her grandsons about it, they asked if it was for real.

“I said, “Yeah, God’s sending us a miracle,’ and that’s what he did, ‘cause it’s a miracle,” she said. “God stepped in, and he was right on time.”

She said there was no way to describe how she felt inside.

“My heart is so full of joy, so happy — can’t do nothin’ but cry.”

“I pray that this, in some kind of way, gives you some kind of relief, especially during the holidays, with the loss of a loved one,” Lt. Donald Ray Morton told Merriman. “I know words can never replace that loved one, but if there’s anything we can do … let us know, we’ll be right there with you.”

Moss said the help for the family extends beyond the holiday season.

“A lot of people do it for Christmas and then they kinda fall off,” Moss said. “That’s not us and that’s not what we’re going to do.

“We’ll come out and talk to the boys, whatever we need to do and still help them along.”

Sgt. M. McPhatter and Officer T. Snipes followed Merriman home with the gifts.

“Y’all made my Christmas,” Merriman told the officers.

This is the second year the department has adopted a family. Read about last year’s here.