For the first time, there will be a second Christmas with a Deputy event on Dec. 14, at Wal-Mart, thanks to a donation from Wal-Mart.
The sound of sirens blaring engulfed the parking lot of Super Target in Palm Coast as 150 patrol cars rolled up with 120 children who were eager to shop for Christmas goodies.
The 11th-annual Christmas with a Deputy event featured officers from the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, Flagler Beach Police Department, Bunnell Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who came together to make Christmas special the night of Friday, Dec. 7.
Eleven year-old Jeffrey Foust was among the children who showed pure joy while picking out gifts in the store with a $150 gift card, as FCSO Cmdr. Philip Reynolds pushed around his cart of toys. But Jeffrey was ready with his own surprise for the officers.
Jeffrey recently moved to Flagler Beach with his mother, Ginny, from Tennessee where his father was a Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputy until his death on Dec. 7, 2011, a FCSO news release stated. As a tribute to his father, Jeffrey wanted to save all of his allowance throughout the year in order to present Christmas gifts to the FCSO. He asked his mother to take him to purchase gift cards so that he could give them to the local deputies during the event.
In the spirit of giving, Jeffrey bought 50 $10 gift cards for deputies and four $25 gift cards for the supervisors, who he referred to as the “Big Dogs” at FCSO.
"I was speechless," Reynolds said. "It was an honor to be with him that evening — not only for his personal sacrifice he made regarding his allowance, but also getting to see his great support for law enforcement."
Jeffrey said he wants to be a SWAT leader when he grows up.
For the first time, a second Christmas with a Deputy event will take place soon. Thirty additional children will shop at Wal-Mart in Palm Coast on Dec. 14, courtesy of a donation from Wal-Mart.
"It starts to feel like Christmas once we have this," said FCSO public information officer Shannon Martin. "The kids are really excited and you can see the look on their faces."
Children were nominated by Flagler Schools teachers to their school resource deputies to participate in the annual event, which was founded by retired FCSO Sgt. Larry Jones.
"It's such a great community event," Martin said. "It fosters relationships with the children, with the deputies."