GRAND BLANC TWP. — The residents of Grand Blanc Township’s Grand Reserve neighborhood wanted to do something special this holiday season to show the local police officers how much they value all the support the department provides.
“We are a senior community, so we often have emergency vehicles in here,” said resident Mary Ann Emick. “We have a lot of snowbirds and (the police department has) a program where they come and check on our houses. We wanted to show them we appreciate them for keeping our community safe.”
Tuesday, Nov. 24, members of the neighborhood’s Helping Hands group presented the officers with personalized gift bags.
“We have a lot of groups,” said Emick, president of Helping Hands. “Most are interest-based – golf, cards, bicycling. Helping Hands is different. It’s our outreach group. We’ve done Toys for Tots, food and backpacks for FISH.”
Since August, the residents donated funds, purchased gift cards and gifts and written ‘thank you’ notes to the 44 people who work in the department, including dispatchers. They even baked treats for the two K9 units.
Each officer received a thermal tumbler with his or her last name and the Thin Blue Line flag engraved on it, hand sanitizer, a gift card, candy, snacks and more.
“The Chief (Ron Wiles) asked the officers their favorite place for lunch, their favorite salty treat and their favorite sweet treat,” said Emick. “Everyone received a $10 gift card for lunch, matched up to their favorite lunch places for the ones who responded. For the others, we took a guess.
“The amazing thing, and this I’m most excited about, is we collected enough funds to meet all of our expenses and had some left over, so we’re presenting them a check for $310 to donate to Voices for Children.”
Voices for Children Child Advocacy Center advocates for children of abuse and neglect in Genesee and Shiawassee counties.
Helping Hands also ended up with “quite a collection” of extra gift cards, which they gave to Wiles to use throughout the year at his discretion, as gifts or rewards.
“A lot of thought went into this,” said Emick. “We have police officers here who we really value.”
Wiles said the Helping Hands folks “outdid themselves.”
“I am humbled by their kindness and generosity,” he said. “It is greatly appreciated. They didn’t have to do this. They are always so kind and appreciative.”