OSHP officers give to Secret Santa program

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sometimes Santa doesn’t drive a sleigh; sometimes it’s a silver Crown Victoria with flashing blue lights.

This year, as they have in the past, the troopers and staff of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Ironton Post played Secret Santa. Throughout the year, troopers gather donations and in December, shop for children who wouldn’t get anything else for Christmas.

Post Commander Lt. Michael Gore said participating in the Secret Santa program is a tradition, not something that is mandated by the state.

Email newsletter signup

“We’ve always done it. We have a lot of community-minded people up here,” he said. “We don’t just work here, we live here too.”

The troopers work with the Department of Jobs and Family Services to make sure several kids got gifts.

“This is about the kids,” Gore said.

Each year a different shift at the post takes on the responsibility of collecting donations. This year it was Dispatcher Drew Fry and Sgt. Jim Hutton, both of whom work on the midnight shift. They were also responsible for buying and everyone helped with the wrapping.

This isn’t the only project the local OSHP works on. They also make food donations to the Ironton City Mission.

Gore said people aren’t really used to people seeing troopers do charity work.

“Most people think we are kind of unapproachable and that’s just not the case,” he said. “We are involved in our community, we try to keep kids from getting killed, and wherever we can, we try to help.”

The troopers don’t actually deliver the gifts, that is left up to the Department of Jobs and Family Services.

“We don’t actually get to see the kids,” Gore said. “But I think that would be really neat.”

Lindilou Ferguson, an accounting clerk II with Jobs and Family Services said it the support of groups like the state patrol and others that makes it possible for them to give to kids at Christmas and other programs throughout the year.

“Our program wouldn’t be any where what it is now,” she said.

Jobs and Family Services plays Secret Santa to about 350 kids this year.

“Without our community, this wouldn’t be happening,” Ferguson said.