APPLING, GA – Two Columbia County Sheriff’s Office employees are getting special recognition tonight for going above and beyond the call of duty!
This is Giving Your Best times two: a deputy and a dispatcher saved one family’s Christmas… before it became a devastating memory.
On Christmas Eve, Deputy Todd Brown was distraught about a burglary that happened on his beat. All of the family’s presents were stolen, including those for their two little girls.
Deputy Brown had an idea that snowballed when Fina Gaspard found out. They made some calls and soon discovered the spirit of Christmas was alive in the hearts of their co-workers. And that’s why Todd Brown and Josefina Gaspard are co-winners of the Giving Your Best Award for July 2015.
“When I found out about it I needed to do something – cause that’s what Christmas is all about, you know, we have to help out others and show our love.”
Fina Gaspard hears a lot of stuff as an emergency dispatcher, but Deputy Todd Brown’s request really stood out.
“I called a couple of other agencies around here and some people I knew from military service who started donating gifts o me that night. And of course I got with our dispatchers and they got with their spouses and family members and started collecting gifts.”
And that’s when this 911 supervisor put her mad networking and communication skills to work!
“I couldn’t leave work so I called my husband and told him, ‘Hey, run out to Walmart, give them the money!’ I had already talked to one of our deputies in Walmart and he talked to the staff and they were going to get us some toys ready. So my husband just showed up and walked out with all the toys.”
And just a few hours later, the brainchild behind the surprise got a big surprise himself.
“When I got back here I got a call saying the gifts were almost ready and to come up here.”
” They were so excited about it, they wanted to do something, too!”
“When I walked in it looked like Santa’s workshop to me!”
“While they were answering phones and radios they set up the paper, the bows, and everybody had something to do.”
“They were all wrapping different individual gifts, different colored paper!”
When it was all said and done, they had 50 beautifully wrapped gifts for the girls! And despite the accolades the deputy and the dispatcher have gotten in the months since Christmas, both say it was never about them, or the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, it was always about the girls.
“It was about the kids cause I didn’t want them growing up with a bad memory on a holiday- that’s something they can look back on and think, not only that but their community came all around them, that’s basically the thing.”
“There’s just some things that you do that make you happy, helping others – and it happens often over here with our department.”
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! These people in the business of protecting lives, giving their best when a real-life Grinch stole Christmas… and didn’t go back to Whoville.