Video and story by JOHN ANDERSON
Local residents have spent the month making sure those less fortunate will have a great Christmas. And this week, as shoppers did their final holiday shopping for food or gifts, they were surprised by the Allegany County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
Eight members who had a day off put their uniforms on and using money from membership dues, purchased turkeys and delicious hams to give away to unsuspecting shoppers.
The membership allowed the Wellsville Sun to set up hidden cameras and mic up a few of the corrections officers, deputies and administrative staff who make up the Allegany County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
There were surprises in stores and parking lots in Canaseraga, Alfred, Andover, Wellsville, Whitesville, Cuba, Richburg, Friendship and Bolivar as over 100 turkeys and hams were given away.
“There were other members of our Local Union Council 82 AFSCME local 3989 who wanted to take part, but they had to work,” said Association member Dana Hand. “We all decided this is what we wanted to do to give back to the community for their support.”
During the year, the community supports several initiatives by the Allegany County Deputy Sheriff’s Association. In turn, scholarships are awarded and other charitable giving takes place.
“Kelly Cumston and I were in one car and we had a blast. We had never done it before and said we will definitely do it again,” said Hand. “We went up to Fillmore in the Dollar General and Shop N Save parking lot. It was a nice day and as we drove up to people they wondered ‘what’s going on here?’ We said ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘can you help us with something,’ or ‘do you know why we are stopping?’ Then we told them we had a free meal for them. They were very grateful and had a good laugh.”
Hand said the community policing helped them meet new residents. They had a good visit with a family that moved to Rushford recently from Foxborough, Mass. and enjoy the lifestyle in Allegany County a lot more.
And there were more than thank yous. One person went inside, bought a box of chocolates and gave them to the deputies. Others told real stories on how the sheriff’s department employees made a difference in their lives.