Monday, December 28, 2009

Honored to help

A couple Fridays ago, I attended the annual Christmas party of a local philanthropic organization, the Sowers Club. Every year, the Sowers Club donates toys to Santa Cop. This year, they trimmed the Christmas tree in the ballroom with cash. At the end of the night’s festivities, the Sower’s plucked the tree, and presented me with a hefty wad. After nervously guarding the haul over the weekend, I handed Officer Cass Briggs (who coordinates Santa Cop) an envelope containing $2,300 to beef up the shopping fund!

A second opportunity arose on Christmas day. I had not seen the letter Officer Steve Standley received from a woman recovering from her drug problems until Christmas Eve. That morning, a fortunate accident occurred. I received a nice email from a citizen complimenting Officer Chassidy Jackson. As luck would have it, I got it on my smartphone right at the moment I was standing next to her in the lineup room at headquarters. Her Sergeant, Ed Sheridan, was there, too, so I just read it out loud, as I forwarded a copy to him for Chassidy’s personnel file.

Afterwards, Sgt. Sheridan and I were getting a little mushy about the good things we get to do as police officers, when he asked me if I had seen the letter Steve Standley received. He had a copy, and shared it with me. I thought the letter was particularly heart felt and moving, as this woman described how she was working to overcome her drug problems and get her life back on track. What better on Christmas then to support someone’s efforts in search of redemption?

She told Steve in her letter that she was going to school and working two jobs. That means that money must be a little tight, so after the last second shift lineup on Christmas, I drove over to her home, and dropped off an envelope full of cash and a stack of gift cards for a local grocery store. The cash was a gift from the employees of a small business here in Lincoln, that forgoes a company Christmas party, and instead asks me to serve as their elf. The gift cards came from a women’s group at my church that requested my services as their bag man.

It was the middle of a Nebraska blizzard, but I had a big 4WD police patrol unit to make the delivery. I called her from down the street, thinking it might be a little disconcerting to hear an unannounced knock at the door under the circumstances. I could sense just a little confusion in her voice as I introduced myself and explained my purpose. A few minutes later I trudged through the knee deep snow and navigated a 4-foot drift near her front door. Hugs, thanks, and tears ensued, and I had to remind her, as I sprung to my sleigh, that I was just the heavily armed delivery man.

I felt honored to help all these donors make these splendid gifts.


Dave said...

Chief, you really get a huge kick out doing that, don't you? Just reading your story gave me goosebumps.

You'ar a good man Tom Casady.

Anonymous said...

A lot of officers do this too. I enjoy grabbing some toy's from the Santa Cop program and giving them to some of the families that are very in need of a better Christmas.
It is a great feeling but we have to remember to thank those that actually donated the gifts. Like Chief said, we are just the armed delivery person. We are the ones that get to see the children's faces light up and the look of relief and gratitute on the parents faces. That makes it all worth it.

Anonymous said...

I'd imagine that the police are especially well-suited to judge if a family is really having a hard time of making ends meet with an already snug belt, as opposed to just having a hard time making end meet after buying teeners on a regular basis. The needy vs the irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Don't hurt your arm while patting yourself on the back too much, Chief. I'm not sure if Worker's Comp would cover this kind of work related injury.

Anonymous said...


wondering if you feel with the weather being colder, some crimes are less likely to be committed.... family issues, fights on sidewalks, homeless issues, vandalism,,, etc.... wondering your opinion on it...thanks

Tom Casady said...


Generally speaking, crime calms way down when the weather is bad. I know it doesn't seem that way, but it's the truth.