Twenty-two elementary school age children from across Knox County had the opportunity to Shop with a Kentucky State Police Trooper Tuesday.
The annual event began Tuesday morning with a shopping spree at Walmart in Barbourville and concluded with lunch and gifts, including new bicycles, at Forcht Bank’s Barbourville branch.
KSP Capt. Ryan Catron, commander of Post 10 in Harlan, was among the more than 20 troopers and dispatchers who turned out to help the children as they picked out a new coat, shoes, clothes and toys.
“This is one of the best parts of my job, getting to see this every year. I really enjoy it,” Catron said as he helped 11-year-old Berena Walters go through the makeup aisle.
Catron said he is proud of the members who turned out Tuesday for their dedication to the “serve” part of the police motto, “To protect and serve.”
“We have good people here that are involved in the community and are willing to do what they can to help.”
Among the representatives from The Forcht Group was Marion Forcht, the wife of Terry Forcht.
Marion Forcht grabbed a shopping cart and joined one of the children for her shopping spree, helping the girl choose her purchases.
“It is great to be part of a community that is doing this,” Marion Forcht said, crediting the troopers who work throughout the year to raise the $10,000 to fund the program.
Marion Forcht said being with these children and seeing what a difference this event makes is what the Christmas season is all about.
“If it is all about, me, me, me, it is not much of a Christmas,” Marion Forcht said. “It is about the children.”
“I appreciate that the state police always include me,” she said.
Forcht Bank Market President Cory Chesnut said it is an effort by all of the Forcht Group and bank employees that make the event possible, along with the support of Terry and Marion Forcht.
“They are really passionate about this,” Chesnut said. “They will do whatever it takes to make this event a success.”
Trooper Shane Jacobs, public affairs officer at Post 10, offered thanks on behalf of the state police to the employees at Forcht Bank, the Forcht Group, and the members of the community that make the donations to make the event possible.
“It is a great blessing for us,” Jacobs said of the troopers and dispatchers.
“This is one program that I really believe in,” he added noting it is an opportunity for children to interact with the state police on a personal level and hopefully it teaches them that if they need help, they can turn to the police.
“We are always going to be there for them,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said the fundraising for the event is a year-round effort, adding that donations are always welcome.
Checks may be mailed to Post 10 in Harlan. Donations are tax-deductible.