The Chouteau County Sheriff's Office continued its longstanding tradition of hosting their annual "Shop with a Sheriff" event for children who need extra support for the holidays.
This will be the 17th year that the shopping event was conducted. Ten kids from the rural area were selected by area schools to shop for the child's needs such as warm winter gear, clothing, and a chance to pick out a toy. They drove down from Fort Benton to Great Falls for the shopping trip.
Sheriff Vern Burdick explained, "We’re from a rural county up in Chouteau County, Fort Benton area. We know all of the kids, too, and all the teachers and the community knows everybody. So we let the schools pick out the children they want to send. Then with three donations from all of our citizens and businesses up there in Chouteau County, we’re able to come down and bring the kids in here and they just have a ball. They get to pick out whatever they want as far as clothing. They get to pick out a toy or two, and I think it just makes their Christmas"
Deputy Seth Broesder said that given the hard days that officers sometimes experience, it's refreshing to be around such a cheerful group of kids.
He noted, "In our world in law enforcement, sometimes we deal with people on their worst days, and it’s really awesome to be able to spend time with kids. Getting excited for some of their best days, and making sure that Christmas is really is that for them, is their best day and that they have a good year."
Deputy Matt Guderjahn reflected upon the importance of helping community: "We serve an amazing community, and any time we can give back to the community we serve is always a bright day for us. We see a lot of negative things that occur, unfortunately. This is something not only brighten our day, but brighten theirs as well. Anytime we give back, we definitely want to do that."
While shopping may be exciting for some, the holidays are what kids are most stoked about.
As for the young shopper? Riley Hawk said, "I really love the family and joy and also the presents."
Helios Ferguson chimed in, "Hanging out with family and people I don’t get to see at any other time.”
If you want to donate to the Chouteau County Sheriff's Office to help with next year's event, call 406-622-5451, or click here to visit the website.