Gifts…straight from the heart

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 22, 2006

AHOSKIE – The best gifts of all come straight from the heart.

That was the thought behind a first-time effort of a brand new organization as members of the Fraternal Order of Police, Hertford County Lodge #86 opened their hearts this season to assist those less fortunate.

On Thursday evening in an upstairs room within the Ahoskie Police Department, law enforcement officers handed out bags of gifts to Hertford County families in need.

“The reason behind these families being chosen to receive these gifts is simply for the fact that we care,” Lodge #86 President Neil Ambrose said.

Ambrose, a Sergeant with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, said the first-year organization wanted to the public to understand that lawmen are people too.

“In so many cases citizens and children see us in bad situations,” Ambrose explained. “So many citizens think that we harass those we confront. That’s not the case at all. Rather, we are sworn to uphold the laws of our nation, state, county and town. We apprehend those who fail to obey what God, our country and our leaders have set forth for us all.”

Comprised of law enforcement officers with the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, Ahoskie Police, Murfreesboro Police, Winton Police, Aulander Police and the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, Lodge #86 members went out into the local community to solicit support for their Christmas toy drive.

“We received a great response from individuals and businesses,” Ahoskie Police Sgt. Brien Lassiter said. “We were able to put together gift bags containing toys, clothes and gift cards.”

Additionally, Wal-Mart of Ahoskie hosted an “Angel Tree” where shoppers could choose a card from the tree bearing information about the child (age, gender, etc.). Using that information, shoppers purchased gifts which local Wal-Mart officials collected and forwarded to Lodge members for dispersal.

All totaled, the effort aided 27 children this year.

“We can’t say enough about the support we received in our first year of doing this,” Sgt. Ambrose said. “I hate to start naming names because I know I’ll leave someone out, but a big thank-you goes out to Wal-Mart, Mike Bradley of Ace in Murfreesboro, Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh and Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan. Thank-you to everyone who helped us help needy children at Christmas.”