Wheeling Police Donate Toys to Sick Children at Wheeling Hospital

The Wheeling Police Department began a new holiday tradition at Wheeling Hospital in an effort not only to bring joy to sick children, but also to encourage trust of law enforcement.

On Wednesday, several officers from the department visited the hospital to hand out gifts donated by the community to children who are in the hospital and likely won’t be home on Christmas morning.

“This is our first year doing this event and we started doing it because (Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger) took part in a similar program in the past and now we are trying to make it a major charity that brings people together,” said Officer Ryan Moore.

Police are not just trying to bring the community together, but charities themselves. “There are several charity organizations in this area and we are trying to bring them all together for this event each year in the future so we can work as one rather than being small and divided,” Moore said. Moore also believes this event will encourage children to ask police officers for help rather than learning to dislike or fear them.

“There are some negative parts to our job and events like this make it worthwhile. I want to help build a relationship with kids for the future so they can look back and remember that a police officer was nice to them and they can have a positive view of us,” Moore said.

Other members of the Wheeling Police Department who participated were Sgt. Josh Sanders, Officer Harry Myers and Cpl. Garrett Pugh. The officers received help from 10-year-old James Potts who dressed as an elf for the occasion and handed out gifts to other children in the hospital. “This is a charity we look forward to seeing more of in the future and getting everyone involved,” Moore said.