Troopers collecting coats, boots for community - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Troopers collecting coats, boots for community

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Capt. Dave Nelson, left, and Trooper Greg Walter of West Virginia State Police Troop 5 sort through jackets donated to the winter boot and coat drive. Capt. Dave Nelson, left, and Trooper Greg Walter of West Virginia State Police Troop 5 sort through jackets donated to the winter boot and coat drive.
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WILLIAMSON, WV -

WILLIAMSON — Although it is the job of an officer in uniform to protect the public, one detachment of the West Virginia State Police decided to take its duties a step further by collecting donations for needy children. 

The officers are giving back in order to ensure a safe, warm winter for children and those in need in the southern part of the Mountain State. Troop 5 of the West Virginia State Police in Williamson is holding its first Winter Boot and Coat Drive from now until Dec. 2.

Troop commander Capt. Dave Nelson said the coat drive means more to the troopers than simply providing coats to children in the southern part of the state.

"It's a simple, need basis for kids or really anybody that's in dire straits," Nelson said. "They're for kids at bus stops, kids who want to play in the cold with other kids but they simply can't because they don't have a coat."

The troopers often do a "Toys for Tots" donation drive and will continue to have collection boxes at the usual locations, but this year they also are collecting winter coats and boots for children and others in need.

Nelson said the coats and boots collection is for people who may be down on their luck but deserve to stay warm during the harsh winter season.

Businesses also can donate by bringing a collection of boots or coats to any of the detachments affiliated with Troop 5.

"They need it now because it's cold," Nelson said. "It can be kind of like an early present for the children."

Nelson and his troop recognized a need for boots and coats for children living within their area of responsibility. By working with school administrators, the police officers attempted to identify the children in need of the boots and coats this winter season.

Although the coats and boots are meant for young children and they are looking for mostly children sizes, troopers also will accept adult sizes.

Donations of any new or gently used boots and coats in good condition will be accepted at the following detachments during normal working hours, on weekdays: Gilbert, Hamlin, Huntington, Logan, Madison, Wayne and Williamson. 

"It was a general consensus among the guys that we have some very needy kids here," Nelson said of southern West Virginia. "There are some truly cold kids out there and it's not their fault."

Colonel C.R. "Jay" Smithers said he is proud of the troop for recognizing a need in the community it serves.

"I applaud Captain Nelson and his staff for identifying a need within their troop and addressing it," Smithers said. "When our troopers realize that they have a vested interest in their community and genuinely strive to serve others, they become better police officers and build a relationship of trust with the public in the process."