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Santa cops & biker Santas deliver giftsTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Jay Huff
North Platte nursing students wrap gifts for Santa Cops to deliver. From left: Tasia Stumps, Brandi Harness, Savanna Hollibaugh and Cristyn Klapp.
Photo by Jay Huff
Santa Cop helpers Marina Macovicka, front, and Lana Watson.
Courtesy Photo­Image

Everyone has different feelings about seeing a police officer at their door, depending on what is going on. But this time of year, a visit by officers make some families very happy.

Since 1985, North Platte Police have become Santa Cops, bringing gifts to children that otherwise would not have as great a holiday.

Through donations by businesses, organizations and people who believe in the program, gifts for children are bought, wrapped with care by volunteers and personally delivered by police.

The gifts come with the best wishes of the entire community and go to children who are not expecting them.

The Santa Cop Program was started in 1980 by a Lincoln, Nebraska police union, according to the program’s website. It was founded to help children who “fell through the cracks” of existing programs, including families who suffered an unexpected illness, injury or lost their job.

Since 1980, the program has expanded nationwide.

Police officers understand that children have no control over these kinds of things. Santa Cops bring badly needed joy to families that are facing sadness and depression.

Gifts were ready for delivery on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Santa bikers

A long line of motorcycles, a vehicle pulling a trailer and possibly other vehicles roll up in front of a house is another example of Christmas spirit from community members.

Another organization in North Platte that makes an effort to get toys to those who need them is the North Platte chapter of the American Legion Riders, a group of P.R. Halligan American Legion Post 163 members who ride motorcycles, organize fundraisers and use proceeds to buy gifts for children. Then, they ask riders from around the area to come and help deliver the gifts.

Santa Claus even shows up on his bike to go along.

With the proceeds from a hamburger feed in October, 17 families in North Platte will have a much nicer holiday, said members Bob Cross and Shelly Beman.

Riders gathered Saturday at the Legion Hall at 2020 East Fourth. From there, they went as a group on their bikes and a flatbed trailer to deliver gifts. Santa also went to the Rape and Domestic abuse office later to deliver gifts to children there.

The trailer was outfitted with hay bales.

“It always proves to be a lot of fun and very rewarding to see the happiness on the kids faces,” Cross said.

American Legion Riders chapters are all over the country and are well known for charitable work, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for children’s hospitals, schools, veteran’s homes, severely wounded service members and scholarships.

More info is at legionriders.org.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 12/19/2013
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