GENESEO – Little Joiangelis Ortiz, 3, was all aglow Monday afternoon at Walmart as Livingston County Deputy Sheriff Tim Sweeting brought a free fairy play set from a high shelf into her open arms.
Numerous families came out to this year’s annual Shop with a Cop event, which put toys in the hands of young children by several officers with the Sheriff’s Office, Geneseo Police Department, Division of New York State Police, and New York State Park Police, with Walmart footing the bill.
“This is really a wonderful thing,” said local mother Angelica Ortiz, while watching her kids busily picking out toys. “Just look at my kids, they’re so happy. Thank you so much and Merry Christmas.”
Angelica and José Ortiz were among many families who signed up to shop for toys and games, using part of the total $4,000 in special gift cards set aside by Walmart for the event. Walmart even donated a few Christmas Trees to families having an especially lean Christmas season.
Ortiz’s daughter, Joiangelis, picked out two fairy play sets with Deputy Sweeting, complete with little fairy houses and fairy figurines. Ortiz’s two boys, Joseniel, 6, and his brother Joeangel, 7, both picked out video games for their Nintendo 3DS handheld systems with Geneseo Police Officer Travis Lana.
In the checkout line, the whole Ortiz family was all smiles as the kids talked excitedly with the officers about their presents. Joeangel even pinky-swore with Geneseo Police Sgt. Dana Carson that he wants to be a police officer when he grows up.
All of the officers were smiling and laughing right along with the kids as they knelt down, their belts bristling with radios and pepper spray, next to little girls and boys in bows, tutus and little hoodies.
“This is such a great community, and I count my blessings,” said Deputy Sweeting. “I don’t think I could be a cop anywhere else.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Top – Geneseo Police Sergeant Dana Carson helps Joiangelis get one of her fairy play sets to the counter, with Mom smiling on. Bottom – L-R Deputy Sweeting, Joseniel, Santa, Joiangelis, and Joeangel take a Christmas photo after shopping for toys. Photos by Conrad Baker.