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Each child participating in the 2015 Christmas for Kids Shop with a Cop program sponsored by the Trooper Bartram Memorial Foundation and Helping Hands for Freedom received a small stuffed giraffe.  Before the shopping began they were told Trooper Bartram’s story to help them understand how and why the program began.  Each of us present that day are now a part of Trooper Bartram’s continuing story, even though he died in the line of duty in 1998.  As each child and their family is chosen to participate in this program, they then become a part of Trooper Bartram’s life story.  And hopefully, Trooper Bartram becomes a part of their life story.
Not everyone knows that giraffes have nearly the largest hearts in the animal kingdom.  It has to be very big to pump blood up through their very long neck.  We never know how big our heart is until we lose someone we love.  Trooper Bartram’s family knew how much he loved participating in the Shop with a Cop program when he was alive, so to help heal their hearts and keep his memory alive they began the Trooper Bartram Memorial Foundation.  It takes courage to stick your neck out to help others and to go on after someone you love dies. Trooper Bartram’s family took his Trooper heart and courage to continue his story by helping children to have a Christmas that they might not have without the help from others. 
On the day that is chosen for the shopping program many State Troopers, Military Personnel, and first responders bring their big hearts and courage that they must have, to put their lives on the line every day as they do their jobs, to shop with the families we serve.  Many people and organizations make donations all year long for the program and they are also a part of Trooper Bartram’s continuing story and legacy of caring.  Our hope is that as each child looks at their giraffe they will be reminded­­­­ of their own big heart and the courage that they have to be able to help others. We hope they are always able to see many people around them who use their big hearts and courage to protect and care for the communities we live in. Helping our children feel safe in their community is one of the core values for the Trooper Bartram Memorial Foundation and Helping Hands for Freedom, and each volunteer that participates all year round.  Building a supportive relationship with Law Enforcement, Firemen, EMT’s, Military and all first responders is a beginning for that sense of safety and security in the world that surrounds the children.
Another surprise this year was a large donation of more stuffed animals. This gave each child the opportunity to have two stuffed animals, one to keep, and one to gift to someone they know who might need to be reminded someone cares for them.  Each act of giving is an act of caring and courage and another page in the continuing story of Trooper Pat Bartram.
We are grateful for each State Trooper, Law Enforcement Officer, Military Officer, Fireman, EMT, and First Responder that gives of their time and their heart to make a difference in the lives of our children.  Your caring and courage are appreciated every day of the year.
Chaplain Gerry Griffith
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department