Escanaba Public Safety delivers holiday gifts with special guests

ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) – Escanaba Public Safety’s “Shop with a Cop” event concluded Thursday with two special guests, and a visit to 29 children on the nice list.

Despite the Grinch’s best efforts to steal the presents, 29 children in Escanaba received their Christmas wishes today, thanks to Escanaba Public Safety, and Santa, of course.

“The spirit of Christmas is a time of year where people need to give. We really appreciate the presents that have been given today,” said Santa Claus.

As part of Escanaba Public Safety’s “Shop with a Cop” event, each child got to spend $200 on gifts earlier this month, with the help of community donations.

“You see the good in people. Not only the people who donate all this money for the program. Then you see these kids, and they are pretty selfless,” said John Gudwer, Escanaba Public Safety detective and lieutenant.

Gudwer said the children also left a lasting impression on their department, like a six-year-old boy he shopped with.

“He wanted to get stuff for his family more than he wanted for himself. It’s heartwarming to see this,” Gudwer said. He hopes the positive interaction with law enforcement resonates with children and adults for the future. The department began delivering the wrapped gifts with Santa and the Grinch two years ago because of COVID restrictions.

“It was a huge hit. The kids loved it, the community loved it, and we loved doing it,” Gudwer said.

What was a temporary solution, Gudwer said he wants to see this tradition continue.

“Seeing the smiles on these kids, and many times, the kids have siblings that get to see it too,” Gudwer said. “You can’t put a price on the relationships that can be built by doing this kind of program.”

Santa adds while heavy winter weather is covering the U.P. he will not be deterred on his journey Christmas Eve to all the other children counting on him.

“I hope that all of the kids out there are behaving, so they can get all the Christmas presents. I wish everybody a Merry Christmas!” Santa Claus exclaimed.

Whether he is being led by Rudolph, or a red fire truck, Santa looks to spread holiday cheer for all.

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