In a celebration of holiday spirit, members of the 56th Security Forces Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., helped children from low-income families pick out toys during the annual Glendale Shop with a Cop charity event, Dec. 15, 2018, at Glendale, Ariz.
Together with the Glendale Police Department, Glendale Citizens Academy and local businesses, the 56th SFS funded the kids’ shopping spree and accompanied them throughout a local business. The gathering also featured fun and activities like gift-wrapping and a jolly, costumed Santa Claus.
“[The community] gives underprivileged kids $100 to spend how they choose, plus we chip in some of our own money,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler Hendrix, 56th SFS military working dog trainer.
The event is meant to give children a magical Christmas and a chance to learn from positive mentors.
“We bring in the role models we want them to look up to”, said Kim Dominguez, retired Glendale police sergeant.
The event involved a mix of officers from both the Glendale police and the 56th SFS. According to Staff Sgt. Eric Creekmore, a 56th SFS investigator, the collaboration between multiple community organizations helps to strengthen public and military relations.
“I think it’s important for us to intermingle with the community,” said Creekmore. “It helps them know who we are. It gives us more of a friendly appearance.”
Hendrix agrees, and says that cooperation between military and civilian police forces is especially beneficial.
“It’s important to try and do as many joint events as possible with the local police department,” Hendrix said. “It helps the face of law enforcement as a whole and they get to see police and civilians work together.”
During the event, the toy section was flooded with kids running from aisle to aisle accompanied by their police officers.
“My favorite part had to be seeing the kids’ eye’s lighting up when they walked into the store to buy stuff, not just for themselves but for their families as well,” said Hendrix.
Creekmore explained that his favorite part of it all was the service he was providing to his community, which is a defining aspect of both the holiday season and a core value instilled into all Airmen: Service before Self.
“I enjoy helping out in any way that I possibly can,” Creekmore said. “This season is all about giving and I love giving back in any way I can.”