Smiles: Mixing cops, kids and Christmas

12:51 AM, Dec 25, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Since 1982, Santa has visited the Ronald McDonald House with his sacks of toys for sick children.

And he always comes in style, flying in with the Second District Cleveland Police Department.

"We wanted to make sure that we took care of them and that they were welcomed here," said retired police officer Joe Thomas.

Thomas started the program "Cops, Kids, and Christmas" 30 years ago after his own son, Jimmy, became ill.

"Had he not gone through that, we wouldn't have seen those kids and families," Thomas said. 

The police officers and significant others made sure to bring the milk and cookies for everyone. In 1984, the program went city-wide, letting more officers continue to serve children who were sick.

"They would allow you in the room and you would be presenting gifts to people who maybe wouldn't be there after Christmas and meet with the parents," said Officer Jef Stanczyk.

Now, Jimmy is all grown up, wearing blue and continuing his father's tradition of giving back.

"We come here for them but they are an inspiration for all of us to carry on what we are supposed to do, what we are called to do," Thomas added.

What do they usually do? Protect and Serve the City of Cleveland.




































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