More than 100 Abilene children’s holiday made bright with APD’s 7th annual “Operation: Blue Santa”

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The seventh annual Operation: Blue Santa initiative, hosted by the Abilene Police Department (APD), went off without a hitch Saturday, giving more than 100 kids in the Abilene area a very merry Christmas.

Children in need of help this holiday season were recommended by teachers, school counselors and other school resource officers within the Abilene and Wylie Independent School Districts.

Out of the many recommendations, appointed APD officials chose more than 100 kids with whom to take along on a shopping spree with an APD officer.

One of the lucky kids: 5-year-old Ivory Evans. Ivory spent his Saturday morning with his dad and Officer Kevin Ohnheiser with APD, shopping at Walmart for his family.

Officer Ohnheiser told KTAB/KRBC that over the past seven years, the Operation: Blue Santa event has encouraged positive relationships between the police department and the Abilene community.

“Unfortunately, we don’t get to do a whole lot of this outside of this… just in our normal day activities, so giving back and seeing those smiles makes the job worth it,” Officer OhnHeiser explained.

KTAB/KRBC: (left to right) Officer Kevin Ohnheiser, Ivory Evans and Santa Claus participate in APD’s 7th annual Operation: Blue Santa

“There can be an intimidation factor with a police officer just being in uniform, so we just want to show them we’re human too,” said Officer Ohnheiser. “We’re here to help them, we’re here to do whatever we can to make sure they’re safe.”

Officer Ohnheiser says Operation: Blue Santa isn’t just for the kids; officers shop for the whole family.

APD provided more than 70 families with Christmas gifts and good conversation.

“[It’s] just a fun time just to take kids and listen to them, just talk… And kind of hear about experiences and let them experience us in a different light,” Officer Ohnheiser cheered.

Since its inauguration in 2015, Operation: Blue Santa has provided granted Christmas wishes to 650 children and counting.

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