If you really want to give a child a warm, fuzzy feeling this holiday season, we can think of no more fitting gesture than a donation of a coat or a pair of boots, or both, to the West Virginia State Police Troop 5 Winter Boot and Coat Drive, which currently is under way throughout the southwestern counties of West Virginia.
Nothing can put a damper on a child’s enjoyment of the holiday season like being cold and wet, and many children are facing that situation with only an old, worn-out coat and boots, or with ones that they have outgrown.
Unfortunately, money is so tight for many parents who are unemployed or living paycheck to paycheck that they can’t afford new ones after paying for housing, groceries and utilities.
That’s where the state troopers of Troop 5 hope we can all help, by buying at least one new or slightly used coat or a pair of boots that are in good condition, preferably water-tight.
Under the leadership of Capt. Dave Nelson, Troop 5 is working with school administrators in the counties they cover to identify children who need coats and boots to make it through the upcoming winter.
Donations of coats and boots in both children’s and adult sizes will be accepted in this area during normal hours on weekdays at detachments in Williamson, Gilbert and Logan.
The significance of this project in improving state troopers’ profile in the communities they serve is not lost on Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers, superintendent of the state police, who has lauded the effort.
“I applaud Capt. Nelson and his staff for identifying a need within their troop and addressing it,” Smithers said.
“When our troopers realize that they have a vested interest in their community and genuinely strive to serve others, they become better police officers and build a relationship of trust with the public in the process,” Smithers said.
Too often, troopers, with their guns and badges, elicit a certain amount of apprehension among children until they begin to see troopers and their fellow law enforcement officers as the good guys in the constant tug of war between good and evil.
Troopers don’t get enough opportunities to show their softer side, especially to the children who are the most vulnerable members of our society.
As such, they need to take advantage of every opportunity they get to project a positive, and benign, image to the public at-large in general, and the younger population specifically.
Children need to know that they don’t need to wait on Santa Claus to bring them presents each Christmas.
That’s why we need to get behind Troop 5’s boot and coat drive by donating a pair of boots or a coat to this worthy cause.