Murfreesboro Police help needy children

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 22, 2003

MURFREESBORO – Friday morning, in a trailer extension classroom of Riverview Elementary School, children’s faces beamed with unexplicable joy as officers from Murfreesboro Police Department (MPD) rolled in cart after cart of Christmas gifts behind Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick.

&uot;Ms. Jones (a teacher at Riverview) called the station to ask if I could find a Santa for them,&uot; said MPD Sergeant Jamie Dilday when asked about how the whole event transpired. He continued, &uot;So, I figured the best thing to do was to get a few gifts for Santa to distribute to the kids upon his visit.&uot;

Starting out with a small list of potential gift items amounting to approximately $100, Dilday set foot to Main Street in Murfreesboro in hopes of securing donations. To his delight, the target amount was quickly reached within the first couple of hours and soon multiplied to over $2,000.

Toys were readily donated from Family Dollar and Dollar General and Subway provided food and refreshments in addition to financial contributions from area businesses and community members.

As Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe, Lieutenant Larry Newsome and Captain Chris Sumner accompanied Sgt. Dilday and patrolman Brian Futrell, posing as Santa to Ms. Jones’ classroom, they brought with them good tidings of great cheer!

From backpacks, coloring books and markers to basketball hoops, play tents and mini kitchenette sets, smiles adorned the innocent faces of the youngsters, whose glistening eyes and bursts of laughter were very apparent as they took in the sights. Boys and girls bounced about vigorously and danced for joy as Santa called them each by name to gather their treasures.

&uot;In previous years, we have tried to provide some holiday gifts to these children because of the financial strain and/or circumstances faced within the children’s household,&uot; said Jones, &uot;but this is probably the best Christmas celebration we’ve ever had.&uot;

One of the parents present at the event commented that it was a &uot;great source of encouragement to see people from the community come out and give their time and support.&uot;

Since money collected for the Christmas fest exceeded the target amount, Sgt. Dilday commented that he, along with the MPD, will be setting up a Christmas fund for next year.

&uot;In the future, we believe there can be a set amount of designated spending for each child,&uot; he said. &uot;We are only seeing a portion of what is possible.&uot;

Chief Rowe reflected, &uot;It’s really great to be a part of this event. It seems that when you’re young, working for the police department is all about catching the bad guys, but when you’re older and you have kids, it changes everything.

&uot;I’m really proud of Jamie for taking it upon himself to do this. This was his idea and he did all the hard work behind it. I think the citizens of our town should be very proud of him and all of the officers who work for the police department,&uot; said Rowe emotionally.

&uot;This is not just a one time thing,&uot; said Riverview assistant principal Phillip Gatling. &uot;The police department is always ready to help the community. When we call, they’re always there and that means a lot when you have that kind of support,&uot; he said.

&uot;I know they know that we appreciate them, but they need to hear it. Sometimes we need to let people know just how much they’re appreciated, sincerely from the heart,&uot; said Gatling.

Rowe extended his regards to those who assisted in the event stating, &uot;without the help of the citizens, none of this would’ve been possible. I’ve really enjoyed being here and the officers really enjoy doing this.&uot;