Two Polk County Sheriff's deputies are making sure this Christmas is one to remember for several local families. Deputies Thomas Lockard and Terry Keen are partners. They patrol the Wahneta and Eloise areas of Winter Haven. They look for bad guys, but also for good kids whose families need help for the holidays.
"We want the children to know that we're their friends and that they can come to us if they need anything," said Keen.
The deputies threw a party Friday night for 17 children and their parents at the Eloise Resource Center in Wahneta. Each invited child was showered with several gifts, all paid for with money raised by Lockard and Keen.
"We try to get the kids that we feel like wouldn't maybe have a Christmas at all," explained Lockard.
The partners have thrown the Christmas party for selected kids from the community for four years. They raised $2,000 this year. They also got donations from local businesses to put together food boxes, which included whole hams, for each family. Volunteers helped them wrap all the presents.
Lillian Richardson's sons were two of the local children picked for this year's Christmas celebration. She hadn't worked for two years before landing a job at a grocery store this month. She said there's no extra money in their household for Christmas gifts.
"This is a blessing," said Richardson.
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