Three CSX Police Special Agents in the Jacksonville Division recently delivered holiday cheer to underprivileged children in Bradford County, Fla.
Special Agents Brian Beville, Howard Masoner and June Piniewski took part in the annual “Shop with a Cop” event organized by Captain Barry Warren of the Starke Police Department. The program pairs police officers from around the region with local children identified by their teachers as hard workers and good citizens, but whose families are in financial need. Each child is partnered with a uniformed officer and given a budget of $100 to spend at Wal-Mart. The program is funded entirely by donations from individuals and businesses in the community.
The “Shop with a Cop” program began 10 years ago with 34 children and quickly grew, requiring Capt. Warren to reach out to neighboring law enforcement agencies, including CSX Police. More than 300 children took part in this year’s two-day event.
“Being a former teacher, I have a soft spot for children and miss that interaction,” said Special Agent Piniewski. “To me, there is nothing more rewarding than making a difference in a child's life, and seeing that joy and excitement on their face.”
In addition to providing the children with holiday gifts that they might not otherwise receive, the program also helps build positive relationships between law enforcement agencies and the community.
“It’s important as employees of CSX to work closely with the communities we serve, give back, be a good neighbor and show that we care,” said Special Agent Beville. “It is especially important as members of CSX Police because it allows children to have a positive contact with police at a young age.”