Members of Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Will County Lodge 94 made sure 50 area youngsters were able to enjoy the holidays this season when they hosted the lodge’s 25th Annual Shop with a Sheriff event on Saturday, December 2.
Will County FOP Lodge 94, comprised of employees of the Will County Sheriff’s Department, partnered with Morningstar Mission 25 years ago to start the annual tradition of Shop with a Sheriff. Morningstar asks local schools to supply a list of children needing a little help at Christmas. Each child, usually accompanied by family members, shops with a uniformed Lodge 94 member using a $100 gift card. The children tend to buy more items for their families than themselves, so Lodge 94 members often give money from their own pockets to make sure the children truly have a Merry Christmas.
The 50 children met their sheriff’s deputy “escorts” at the Mission and were then taken on school buses to the Walmart in New Lenox to shop.
“I still run into adults who took part in Shop with a Sheriff as kids a quarter of a century ago, and they still remember it as a highlight of their young lives,” said Lodge 94 past President Wayne Ratajack, who helped to start Shop with a Sheriff 25 years ago. “I’m proud and humbled that my fellow Lodge 94 members have steadfastly continued this tradition of giving through the years, and we are thankful for the staff at the New Lenox Walmart who also helped make this happen.”
The Fraternal Order of Police, founded in 1915, is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. With a proud tradition of officers representing officers, the FOP is the most respected and most recognized police organization in the country. The Illinois FOP, chartered in 1963, is the second largest State Lodge, proudly representing more than 34,000 active duty and retired police officers – more than 10 percent of all FOP members nationwide. Visit www.ilfop.org for more information.