An effort by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, its School Resource Officers, and its Chaplain Unit to ensure students in need have a Merry Christmas has resulted in approximately $14,000 worth of gifts for nearly 100 students this year.
The OCSO Star Charities Angel Tree started in 2010.
Each fall, school SROs and guidance counselors identify students whose families will need assistance in bringing Christmas joy to their children. OCSO employees then step up to sponsor a child in need, working to fulfill a wish list provided by each student.
Today school resource officers gathered up a portion of what’s been collected to begin distributing to their students. Most will be delivered to the students’ homes.
“The OCSO family is doing what families do, taking care of their own, and we consider Okaloosa County’s children are own. Close to 500 children’s lives have been touched since the inception of this program,” said OCSO Chaplain Larry Carter.
“Children are able to see the heart behind the badge through the work of our SROs. It is also inspiring to see the incredible generosity of our deputies and employees with the Angel Tree project,” said Sheriff Larry Ashley. “We know we’re making a difference not just during the holidays, but every day – ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”