WHEATLAND – The Platte County Sheriff’s Department, the Wyoming State Highway Patrol and the Wheatland Police Department and the Wheatland Fire Department all got together Dec. 22 to participate in the holiday season’s “shop-with-a-cop” program.
Forty-six Platte County children were chosen and assigned to their own special officer who took them up and down the aisles at Drube Supply at 609 16th Street. After their shopping was completed and they were rung out, the Wheatland Fire Department gave children a ride in the firetruck to the Wheatland fire barn where the kids could wrap their presents and enjoy a chili supper.
Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper Jaime Wingard who was the mastermind behind the shop-with-a-cop in Platte County organized the large gathering.
“This is something we’ve really wanted to get in Platte County for the last couple of years,” Wingard said. “I’ve helped in Goshen County and the hard part was getting it organized here. This year I decided we were just going to do it so I jumped in feet first.”
Wingard successfully coordinated the four first responder units, the store where the shopping was done and the setup of the chili supper. Donations were secured from the community and per usual, the community came through in a big way. For this year’s project, $4900 have come in according to Wingard.
“The kids each got $100 to shop,” Wingard said. “This will be my third year with this project and helped in Torrington the past two years. This was my first year organizing it.”
Part of the program add-on this year was the chili made by local resident MK Burnett and wrapping stations where the kids can go to wrap their gifts with adult volunteers from the community.
“We had big food baskets over at the fire barn donated by the first lady and the hunger initiative so they all have Christmas dinner,” Wingard said. “We have ham and eggs and it all just came over from Thrifty Foods.”
As for Wingard’s personal plans for Christmas after undertaking such a huge project for others who need help was rest and enjoying the holidays with family.
“I’ll probably just relax,” Wingard said. “Both of my trees are over there at the fire barn, so I guess now I have to go home and put the tree up. I did all the decorating over there.”
There were 19 officers involved in the project not counting the fire department personnel who helped in the transporting of children, setup and cleanup.