Spreading Christmas Cheer


Over 100 children served by FOP’s annual Christmas program

By Melanie Yingst - Miami Valley Sunday News



Lt. Joe Gebhart of the Piqua Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Douglas Townsell, son of an OSHP dispatcher, assist Jodi Fosnight of Piqua in some Christmas shopping at the Troy Meijer Store on Friday during the annual COPs shopping night sponsored by the Miami County FOP and Miami County Victim Witness.

Lt. Joe Gebhart of the Piqua Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Douglas Townsell, son of an OSHP dispatcher, assist Jodi Fosnight of Piqua in some Christmas shopping at the Troy Meijer Store on Friday during the annual COPs shopping night sponsored by the Miami County FOP and Miami County Victim Witness.


MIAMI COUNTY — Each year, Miami County law enforcement agencies join forces to make the holiday season a little brighter for kids in need.

Officers from around the county participated in the annual Christmas Outreach and Program and Services (C.O.P.S.) shopping at the Troy Meijer on Friday.

Troy Police Department officer and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 58 President Jeff Waite said the program was helping more than 100 Miami County children have clothes and toys to be delivered by Santa himself next week.

Forty-two families were selected from the program’s application process this year. This year, families were allotted $150 per child thanks to generous donors, including Meijer.

Waite said while officers were organizing near the registers, a woman donated $100 to their cause.

“It’s nice to see people appreciate what we are doing,” Waite said. “We like coming out and doing something positive for the community.”

Lodge Secretary Lance Ray said Meijer is a primary contributor to the annual “Shop with a Cop” program. Contributions also were provided by the second annual Memorial Stair Climb in honor of 9/11 victims and first responders held at the Troy Memorial Stadium. Ray said retired Troy Police Department officer Joe Stutz, the climb’s organizer, provided a generous donation from the proceeds of their event this year.

Other contributions include those who participate in the annual golf scramble each July, the program’s primary fundraiser for the event. Other contributors include Lumpkins of Piqua and the Miami County Democratic Party, as well as individuals, families and FOP Lodge No. 58 members.

“Meijer of Troy has continued to be a fantastic partner in this project, and they make it seamless for the Lodge to get this accomplished,” Ray said. “Not only do they donate money, they provide staff time and effort into making this happen each year.”

Ray said while the event is part of Miami County FOP Lodge No. 58, C.O.P.S. is a self-supporting benefit program.

“It is through the partnerships and relationships with local establishments such as Meijer and residents of Miami County that we are able to help those families in need during this time of year,” Ray said.

FOP Lodge member and retired Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputy Billy Ray said the FOP Lodge is also coordinating a collection to donate to the two children of Caroline Tucker. Tucker, 26, of Troy, was found deceased after being ejected from her Jeep in single vehicle accident on State Route 202 near Fulton Farms on Friday morning. Tucker’s children, a 3 year-old and 4 year-old, were also in the vehicle and had minor injuries and hypothermia.

To donate or learn more about the COPS program, contact Waite at jeff.waite@troyohio.gov or Lance Ray at lray@miamicountyohio.gov.

Lt. Joe Gebhart of the Piqua Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Douglas Townsell, son of an OSHP dispatcher, assist Jodi Fosnight of Piqua in some Christmas shopping at the Troy Meijer Store on Friday during the annual COPs shopping night sponsored by the Miami County FOP and Miami County Victim Witness.
https://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2019/12/web1_121319mju_fop_shopwithcops.jpgLt. Joe Gebhart of the Piqua Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Douglas Townsell, son of an OSHP dispatcher, assist Jodi Fosnight of Piqua in some Christmas shopping at the Troy Meijer Store on Friday during the annual COPs shopping night sponsored by the Miami County FOP and Miami County Victim Witness.
Over 100 children served by FOP’s annual Christmas program

By Melanie Yingst

Miami Valley Sunday News

Reach Melanie Yingst at myingst@aimmediamidwest.com. © 2019, Miami Valley Sunday News, all rights reserved.

Reach Melanie Yingst at myingst@aimmediamidwest.com. © 2019, Miami Valley Sunday News, all rights reserved.