Shop with a Cop makes Christmas brighter for 65 kids

This year 65 local children had a brighter holiday as they were gifted a good time at the 2021 Shop with a Cop (Anne Fischer Photography)

The annual Shop with a Cop was another huge success as evident with the overflow of happiness and joy among children and law enforcement alike.

The shopping carts were loaded with toys and the bikes rolling through the doors in the enthusiastic grips of thankful kids was a sight that warms the heart. The program provided gifts for 65 Campbell County boys and girls this holiday season.

The event continues to brighten the holidays for dozens of youths since its it was taken over by Gillette Police Department Detective Corporal Dan Stroup and his wife, Tonya, 18 years ago. This year’s Shop with a Cop delivered more than $11,000 in toys and necessities for children of all ages.

Every year, the kids enjoy a breakfast and then go along with Gillette police officers, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Campbell County Sheriff’s deputies and Campbell County firefighters for a shopping spree. The smiles galore were enough to brighten the town.

“I heard one of the officers say to a little girl something like ‘you are talking a lot’ he said to her kindly,” Sherri Marchant Pangus told the Shop with a Cop organizers about the cop as he was holding the little girl’s hand while they shopped. “The little girl looked at him sweetly and said, ‘that’s because I am so happy.’ It made my whole day.”

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That was the kind of day it was for more than five dozen happy and spirited kids.

“So many amazing things happened at today’s event. My heart runs over with all the love, selflessness and compassion that we witnessed today,” said Tonya Stroud. “Thanks to all the law enforcement agencies and their officers, our amazing fire department, Headstart for a stellar breakfast, Paintbrush School for allowing us use of the gym, Girl Scout troop 1160 for cute crafts, Anne Fischer photography for capturing some amazing moments.”

Tonya Stroup, who again helped make Christmas a little merrier for so many, thanked many for the day possible, as she gave credit for so many who played a role in the event.

She also thanks “Santa for always being the best Santa there is, Live 2 Dance for stockings, Jeannie Gordan and the No Hunger Initiative fund for dinner bags, the “Mystery Man Isaac” that was giving every officer he saw money for the kids, Walmart for letting us wreck their store and my many, many amazing volunteers that are my hands and feet. I only organize it – everyone on this list is responsible for making it an amazing day.”