"It is serving the community well … it is reinforcing the wholesome fabric of the town, and families are strengthened by this," said Herndon resident and Town Council member Charlie Waddel. He was referring to the Greater Herndon Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 64 Cops & Kids Program event held Saturday, Dec. 21. This was the second year that the event was hosted at Herndon Police Station at 397 Herndon Parkway.
The event was an outreach involving both the Herndon Police and other local organizations. "We host a special event for them and it is so much better and memorable for the kids and their families," stated Steven Fraser, director of community Relations for the Herndon Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). "The amount of care and dedication they put forth in holding this event every year, is quite something to witness… this event is a great example of what happens when an organization like the Herndon FOP works together with other great community organizations and they all come together with the common goal of helping those less fortunate and spreading the joys of the holiday season."
"This makes it all worth the while, seeing the kids smiles," said Donnel Williams, current president of the Herndon Police Crime Prevention Council (HPCPC). HPCPC is a citizens' organization established to promote crime prevention efforts and to support the mission of the Herndon Police to reduce crime. On Friday, Dec. 13, Williams and other volunteers spent several hours helping prepare Christmas gifts for children who were in this year’s Cops & Kids Program. "It is super fun," said Melissa Tochterman an administrator at Herndon Elementary.
"It was a really good turnout, everyone had a good time and during the gift unwrapping you could see smiles on the kids faces and the parents are happy," said Herndon Police Officer Tanya Henry. "Last year we sponsored 25 kids, since then it has grown," said Officer Eddie Stapleton, president of the Herndon FOP. "In addition to the gifts and toys, we provide a holiday dinner and a $100 Kohl’s gift cards to use for additional gifts for the kids or other family necessities." Stapleton expressed appreciation for assistance provided by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Company 36 and Company 4.
Both Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance at the Herndon Police Station, and Santa asked all the kids to do well in school and listen to their parents. Once the event concluded at Herndon Police Station, members of the Herndon FOP and volunteers went out with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Company to deliver toys throughout the community to kids in lower income areas of Herndon. A motorcade of police cruisers and a fire truck shared the joy of the season, distributing over 600 toys.
The Herndon FOP was able to deliver over 340 coats and over 800 pounds of food to local shelters and non-profit organizations such as Cornerstone as part of this year’s Cops & Kids program. St. Joseph School, the Optimist Club of Herndon, Gutterman Services and Haley Smith School played major roles in making this possible as they all hosted food and coat drives. Other major contributors from the community who made the Cops & Kids Program event possible with their donations and support were: The Herndon’s Women Club, The Herndon Rotary Club, The Optimist Club of Herndon, 381 Elden St. LLC, Adams Green Funeral Home, CDW-G and CGI.
To learn more about the Herndon Fraternal Organization of Police, visit www.herndonfop.org.