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Greer police have a heart-felt day ahead of them Saturday

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, December 21, 2012

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Sgt. Chad Richardson laughs after he was served several slices of pizza piled high on his plate today.

Sgt. Chad Richardson laughs after he was served several slices of pizza piled high on his plate today.



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Now that's a big pie. Merrell's Pizza hosted police and volunteers involved with the Cops for Tots project.

Now that's a big pie. Merrell's Pizza hosted police and volunteers involved with the Cops for Tots project.

Bikes have been assembled, toys, puzzles, games, stuffed animals and dolls have been categorized by age, and the Cannon Centre is all dressed up for Greer’s Cop for Tots distribution Saturday.

The officers and volunteers bought a Santa sleigh of gifts from Walmart of Greer this morning, assembled them and others afterwards and was fed to their fill at Merrell’s Pizza this afternoon.

Children will shop for their gifts Saturday morning with the officers and volunteers. Their parents will wait at the exit. Lt. Jimmy Holcombe likes that formula so parents can’t influence the children what to select.

“We have 325 kids registered for Cops for Tots,” Holcombe said. “We’re about the same as last year but our money donations are down compared to last year’s.  “We get a lot of toys from Syl Syl and Greer Relief contributes what is left from their distribution.” Greer Relief accommodated 700 families this year, according to Executive Director Caroline Robertson. That was up about 70 from 2011.

The police department’s fundraisers are a golf and softball tournament. Dates for 2013 haven’t been set. Leadership Greer and the Citizens Academy are community partners with police. “The schools and community really get behind us, too,” Holcombe said.

Jeff Pitman, among the organizers, was the recipient of the police’s act of kindness in 1999. He suffered an injury that would force him to leave the fire department for disability. “Drew (his son) was eight and I couldn’t get out to shop,” Pitman said. “There wouldn’t have been any presents had it not been for (Det. Sgt.) Patrick Fortenberry and (Chaplain) Keith Kelly bringing out toys.”

Pitman was involved before the accident and has been since. “We were trying to figure out how many years, 20-23, Cops for Tots has been going on. Roy Wright and Dennis Leopard started it.”

Holcombe, Pitman and other personnel have taken to heart their impact for Greer’s children. “Those guys get in the trailers and dig out the toys and people like Perry Bowens will spend their own time putting two-year-old bikes together,” Holcombe said.

The officers are unpaid volunteers.

“They all do this from the heart,” Pitman said. “Some will have to wipe tears when they see the children receiving their toys. If you don’t feel it, then your heart has become too hard and you need to retire.”

WANT TO CONTRIBUTE? Donations are still being accepted. Bring or send donations to:

Toys for Tots

c/o Greer Police Department

102 S. Main Street

Greer, SC  29650

Call 864-416-0112 or visit the Greer PD on Facebook.

 

 

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