by Airman 1st Class Jeremy L. Mosier
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
12/9/2014 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The
sound of laughter and singing filled the air as volunteers and children
funneled into Elk Lodge 2276 for the 18th annual "Shop with a Cop"
event in Mountain Home, Idaho, Dec. 6, 2014.
Thanks to local businesses as well as military and civilian law
enforcement, an event that started with only 25 participants has grown
to an outstanding 115 children.
"The goal is to get the community and base involved with the children,
especially this time of year," said Staff Sgt. Karla Devia, 366th
Security Forces Squadron unit training manager. "It is the season and
time of giving."
The event began at the Mountain Home Elk Lodge where children were
greeted with a smile and enjoyed breakfast with volunteers. After
finishing breakfast, the singing of holiday songs began and everyone was
given the opportunity to play an instrument.
As the meet-and-greet came to an end, the sound of sirens, and once
again children's laughter, came into the air. A few of the children were
given the opportunity to play with the loud speaker: "Hey, you, get
out of the way," followed by a chuckle, echoed through the parking lot
as people passed in front of the patrol cars.
Officers convoyed through town with sirens and lights on making their
way to the final part of the day, shopping. For many this was the
portion of the day that was the favorite.
"The biggest thrill you get is watching the kids' faces light up when
they see all the different presents they are getting, not only for
themselves," said Larry Plott, deputy for Elmore County Sheriff's
When 5-year-old T.J. Meeker was asked who he bought presents for he
simply stated, "my family." He then went on to explain what he
purchased, "socks, kitchenware, boots, and I got a big airplane." But
when he explained the last gift he purchased he whispered it so no one
else would hear, "I got my sister a Barbie."
"Seeing how excited they were when they performed such a selfless act of
buying gifts for their families was the most heartwarming part of the
day," said Senior Airman Leighanna McIntosh, 366th SFS comtroller. "The
joy on the kids' faces was the best part."