Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 14, 2012

Policeman’s Ball to be Saturday

Tammie Hetzer-Womack
The Independent

ASHLAND —  On Saturday night, area policeman will team up in full force to help needy children.

Ashland Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3 will celebrate its 70th annual charitable Policeman’s Ball, an event of food, family and friendship to benefit its nearing Shop-with-a-Cop program.

For 20 years, the program has made wishes come true for close to 150 underprivileged tots who Christmas shop alongside a police officer or deputy at a local superstore.

“Policeman’s Ball allows us to help children. It’s a small night of fun but you leave there knowing you made a big difference,” said Lodge President and Boyd County Sheriff’s Department Rick Riffe. “Out of all these years I still remember each and every one of those kids’ faces lighting up. We’re Santa to ’em.”

Local lawmen need support and generosity this weekend at the annual Ball, with kind folks connecting to the community event by opening wallets and attending. As the local economy endures cutbacks, layoffs and job loss, numbers of families served by Shop-with-a-Cop grows, yet donations decrease, said city police Lt. Billy Bare.

“We try to make sure every child in this town has a Christmas. We run upon this all of the time when we’re out patrolling. It breaks your heart,” Bare said. “It’s tough for all of us at the holidays with the harsh economy, but we really must put kids first. It’s what it’s all about.”

The Policeman’s Ball wintertime bash at downtown’s Park Place allows the lodge to budget $200 per child. Shop-with-a-Cop is slated for Dec. 1 at 9 a.m. at Riverhill Drive’s Walmart Supercenter.

The Policeman’s Ball dinner, catered by Texas Roadhouse, starts at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the community. While the dance kicks off at 9 p.m. with radio personality Brandon Woolum dee-jaying. There are door prizes and a silent auction. Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased in advance from any FOP Lodge officer or at the door.

To make a monetary donation to Shop-with-a-Cop, call Ashland F.O.P. Lodge No. 3 at (606) 325-8494 or drop off donations at the Ball.