Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 8, 2012

Walking the North Pole beat

KSP hopes fundraising will benefit needy children

Tammie Hetzer-Womack
For the Independent

GREENUP — Don’t let the decorative fodder shock or pumpkin pageant princesses bunched on the Greenup Old Fashion Days stage fool you. It’s the first week of October, but Kentucky State Police Trooper Mike Murriell already pictures Christmas.

On Friday the new public affairs officer for Ashland’s Post 14 set up at the autumnal event, with tons of fun stuff for Old Fashion Days guests to gander at and purchase to support the KSP’s holiday Shop With a Trooper benefit, which buys presents for underprivileged youngsters in Boyd, Carter, Lawrence and Greenup counties.

Children and teens enjoy a pizza party before Christmas shopping with a KSP uniformed-trooper. For many, the program delivers Santa’s only visit down the chimney, Murriell said

“We’re just out here trying to bring Christmas to kids,” he said.

Since assuming his new job, Murriell had concentrated efforts on the Kentucky State Police Professional Association Shop With a Trooper holiday charity drive. He has dreamed up new ideas to spread word and harvest contributions, all displayed at Old Fashion Days over the weekend.

Benefactors bought breast cancer awareness light pink, and dazzling, “cyber-pink” T-shirts, coupled with the more-manly white and gray T-shirts for $15 each. Trooper teddy bears stood in straight formation on the vendor table, on-sale today, also $15. The cadet stuffed animals sported the familiar felt winter campaign hat, as seen on state police.

Young eyes turn focused on the pint-sized Power Wheels police cruiser parked  in front of the exhibit. The miniature, battery-powered Dodge Charger squad car was donated by the Cannonsburg Walmart before and converted into a KSP road unit.

Murriell had the car painted in the same shade of gray seen on KSP cruisers at a Salyersville body shop. Then, a Morehead team outfitted the child’s dream car with authentic state police logos.

Logan Murphy, 5, eyeballed the cop coupe. The Franklin Furnace boy begged his parents to purchase a $5 chance to win it.

“I want this car,” he said. “It’s real fast, and real cool, and I’d drive it around and around.”

Last year Shop With a Trooper shared Christmas joy with 33 kids. each received $100 to spend. The number of children the program serves depends upon donations. Murriell said he believes, with extra legwork, they may be able help more children this season. He’s busy grant-writing and will appear at community events to raise money for the cause. The KSP recently partnered with Ashland’s Ruby Tuesday restaurant to raise money for the program.

“This is really one of the best things we do,” he said. “Everyone at post loves being involved in this. We see the children light up during the event. It’s very special when these children are able to interact with troopers and understand we’re the good guys and there to help.  

“For a few moments, they have no worries and get to be kids. And, for many of them, that’s something that doesn’t happen every day.”

On Nov. 3 and  13 a Ruby Tuesday’s will donate 20 percent to Shop With a Trooper from purchases where “GiveBack” leaflets are presented to troopers. Those leaflets may be printed from from the Post 14 website or picked up at the post.

To donate, purchase a T-shirt or teddy bear, learn more about the Ruby Tuesday’s promotion or buy a Power Wheels raffle ticket, call Murriell at (606) 928-6421.