It is not often that police officers are seen crying. They dedicate their lives to protecting their community and dealing with all the ugliness society has to offer. But one thing can pull on even the most life-hardened heart strings: the heart of a child who understands life on a level many adults do not.
Deputies with the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office knew they needed to do something positive for a Greenwood community which has suffered much in 2013. They contacted Curt Eidson, pastor of Emerald Baptist Church, and asked for ideas. Eidson, who is unwavering in his desire to help children, suggested GCSO host “Shop with a Cop.” Eidson and his church took up donations and deputies took nine kids, who they identified as being in need, shopping Friday morning.
“It’s good for people to see our police officers out in the community doing something positive,” Eidson said. “Normally, people only see them when something bad happens. This gives the community, and the deputies, and opportunity to do something positive.”
Amid the buggies being filled with toys and clothes was a beacon of hope for future generations in Greenwood. A moment so moving that there were no dry eyes. A moment so stirring that it caused Capt. Jarvis Reeder, who heads up GCSO’s investigative division, to walk away as tears streamed down his face.
As one of the children there to shop with the cops, an 11-year-old boy, perused the aisle containing fishing poles, lures and other equipment with his younger brother, he removed a $20 Wal-Mart gift card from his pocket. The child explained to the deputies that the card had been given to him because the person knew his family was having a hard time. As he was explaining how he got the card to the deputies, he carefully selected a fishing pole. The boy then further explained that the fishing pole would make the perfect gift for the person who gave him the gift card and he intended to use the gift card to buy a present for the person who gave it to him.
“That’s what Christmas is really all about,” said Capt. Dale Kittles, commander of GCSO’s Community Services Division. “When you see a kid do something like that it just tears you up. As hard as things are for him and his family, he was thinking of someone else.”
As everyone wiped the tears away from their eyes, the boys began discussing which lures they could use and what kind of tackle box they needed, as if the moment which none of the deputies will ever forget never happened.
“That was amazing,” Reeder said. “We’re so blessed and we don’t even know it. Those kids are something special. They get it.”