Saturday, Dec. 15, was a busy day at the Ripley Walmart.
Local police officers were getting into the spirit of the holiday season through the Shop with a Cop program, while Jackson County Emergency Medical Service team members were loading up ambulances with toys for their Fill My Ambulance Toy Drive, and the Brothers of the Wheel organization was getting some Christmas shopping in for those less fortunate.
Police officers from both Ripley and Ravenswood departments participated in the second annual Shop with a Cop Program sponsored by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department on Saturday. This event gave 45 elementary and grade school age children from across Jackson County, the opportunity to go Christmas shopping with a police officer.
The program was a success due to the donations and sponsorships received from many local individuals and businesses throughout the county.
The Jackson County EMS met at Walmart on Saturday as well to collect toys for their Fill My Ambulance Toy Drive. Shawn McKenna, paramedic with the Jackson County EMS, originally started the toy drive in 2015. This was the third annual event.
“This event started three years ago with an eight-day window to get it done and has grown immensely over the years,” McKenna said. “We couldn’t do this without the help and support of individuals and groups such as Parchment Valley and the Sandyville Senior Center.”
The Sandyville Senior Center practically filled an entire ambulance by themselves during their Holiday Auction on Friday, Dec. 7.
Two ambulances were filled during this year’s event. The toys collected will go to local Jackson County children in need this holiday season.
Last but not least, rounding out the Christmas spirit at the Ripley Walmart on Saturday was the Brothers of the Wheel organization.
The Brothers of the Wheel is an American Motorcyclists Association chartered club that was founded in 1977 with its first chapter started in Milton, West Virginia. The members enjoy riding together, having a good time, and supporting local charities.
Tommy “Lead Foot” Burdette was at Walmart with his Brothers chapter on Saturday. Burdette represents the Point Pleasant Brothers group under the Mother chapter.
“This is the seventh year we have participated in this event, but the Brothers of the Wheel have been doing this for 41 years out of Cabell County,” Burdette said. “We are here buying for 54 children in the Mason County area. We are just doing our part to ensure these kids have a great Christmas.”