By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Law enforcement officers make many types of calls, including domestic disturbances where children may need to be removed from their home. In many cases, they take very little with them except their clothes and a toy. One Blackwell OK-Okies 4-H member is changing that, as he recently made a donation of several childcare packages to the Newkirk Police Department so they will have many gifts to calm the children when they are stressed.
Tripp made the donation Monday, May 24 to Police Chief Nolan Tattershall. He previously made donations to the Blackwell and Ponca City police departments and Kay County Sheriff’s Office.
There are many reasons children may be removed from the home, including domestic violence and abuse, child neglect or parents may simply be injured or sick.
Tripp jumped in as soon as he found out the kids don’t usually take anything.
“My grandmother told me that when the kids get (removed), they don’t get to take anything with them, so I wanted to do something about it,” Tripp said. “I got in touch with the Sheriff’s office and I found out they needed toiletries and toys, so I created the bags to fit what they need.”
The NPD already keeps small items in their cars when that case occurs.
“It helps them take their minds off the fact they are in a chaotic situation,” Tattershall said. “If a child was to be removed from the home due to whatever the circumstances may be, it is a comfort bag with something to preoccupy their minds.”
Tripp made six total bags for the station, three each for girls and boys. Inside each bag is a variety of games, toys, toiletries, books, including coloring books and crayons and blankets and pillows.
In addition to comfort, Tripp also sees this as a teachable moment that police are helping them, not tearing their family apart.
“This helps them to have comfort during the difficult situation so they don’t look at the police as the bad guys in the situation when they get displaced,” he said.
Tripp is making more donations as needed, and the Kay County Extension office is taking donations for more bags, some which will be donated later to the Tonkawa Police Department.
The NPD is grateful for the donation, as there are more items than what they already had.
“Previously before this, we used to keep a small toy in the car, so now that we have a child’s bag, its more personable,” Tattershall said. “It has things that keep them preoccupied. They have multiple thigs to use to find comfort.”
Kay County 4-H Educator Liz Nicholson is proud of Tripp and his giving spirit.
“Colton is so caring, he truly has a servant’s heart,” Nicholson said. “It is not common that kids go the extra mile to make sure some people have something, and to see all these traits in Colton, it is very heartwarming and I’m really lucky to see the joy it brings to kids’ faces.”
For Tripp, however, it all stems from a love of the children themselves.
“I have a soft spot for kids. I like helping them, I like teaching them new things,” he said. “I just knew I needed to help.”