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Heroes bringing Christmas joy

Santa and Mrs. Clause with local law enforcement
Some of the volunteers and law enforcement officers are pictured with Santa and Mrs. Clause at the Shop with a Hero experience.

ROSCOMMON COUNTY- Walmart of Houghton Lake hosted the annual Shop with a Hero for Roscommon County. Michigan State Police Sergeant Scott Bates and others have worked over the past twenty-one years to provide this special event for the children. 

Walmart provided $2500 in grant funding this year for children’s shopping. The grant, along with donations from both the Roscommon and Houghton Lake Rotarians, UAW Retirees, and Lake Kiwanis organization provided each child with $125 to spend for the event.

Nearly 100 “heroes” from Michigan State Police; Roscommon County Sheriff’s Department, Roscommon Sheriff’s Auxiliary, Roscommon County Victim Service Unit; Michigan State DNR Law Enforcement; Richfield, Denton, and Gerrish Police; Markey, Roscommon and Lake Fire Departments; Roscommon County Prosecutor’s Office; Rotary; US Army; Central Dispatch; Houghton Lake Schools Interact and National Honor Society helped 50 children shop and wrap Christmas presents.

wrapping gifts
Victim Service Unit members wrapping at the Shop with a Hero event are (r-l) Nancy Smitz, Terry Evanoff, and Judith Evanoff.

Children had photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus (Craig and Julia Tuck). Transportation has been provided by Compass Coach of Cedar Springs, MI (formerly of Gladwin) for all of the twenty-one years. Trenton Stange and his father have donated both bus and driver every year for this event.

Sergeant Bates commented that while he hasn’t necessarily seen a rise in poverty in the county, he has seen an increase in homelessness. Many school age children in the county, due to a variety of situations, do not have stable housing. 

Sergeant Bates is gradually turning over his community service duties to Trooper Mark McCauley. For more information on how to donate funds, contact the Houghton Lake Michigan State Police Post, either Sergeant Bates or Trooper McCauley.

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