Saturday, 13 April 2024

Victim-Witness and fellow law enforcement agencies partner for Christmas gift giving

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Members of local law enforcement gathered in Lakeport on Monday, December 21, 2009, to begin distributing toys to children around Lake County who Victim-Witness worked with this past year. Photo by Tera deVroede




LAKEPORT – Christmas presents arrived on the doorsteps of special children around Lake County on Monday as part of an annual tradition.


Each year, the Lake County District Attorney's Office Victim-Witness Division organizes the Christmas gift giveaway, which has been going on for so long that no one asked about its origin could remember just when it started.


Victim-Witness advocates for crime victims, offering them services and support as they go through the justice system.


The holiday effort allows the relationship between the agency and the people it helps to shift to a happier theme.


Victim-Witness Supervisor Debbie Wallace said the longstanding tradition helps not just the recipients but the givers as well.

 

“It’s fun for us to do for the families,” she said. “It’s not the usual dark stuff.”


Local law enforcement agencies personally delivered the gifts to the homes of 91 victims of crime across Lake County on Monday.

 

Staff from the California Highway Patrol, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Clearlake Police Department and Lakeport Police Department and District Attorney's Office all convened outside of the Victim-Witness Division at 420 Second St. in Lakeport, ready to load the wrapped gifts into their cars despite a morning rainstorm.

 

 

 

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Sgt. Gary Basor and Deputy Cynthia Radoumis of the Lake County Sheriff's Office got into the holiday spirit. Photo by Tera deVroede
 

 

 


The gifts have traveled down a long line of generosity that began with the local people who decided to purchase a gift for the selected recipients, most of them children.

 

Each child was assigned an ornament with their gender and age information which hung on one of two Christmas tree displays – one at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lakeport and the other at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Kelseyville, said Wallace.


Once the trees were in place it was up to parishioners to buy gifts and bring them to the Victim-Witness Division, Wallace said.


She said the District Attorney's Office and the Auditor's Office also contributed by choosing one specific family to donate to this year.

 

Deputy Cynthia Radoumis of the Lake County Sheriff's Office was so excited to participate for the first time this year that she decorated her patrol cruiser – complete with lights and a wreath on the grill – and wore a Santa hat.

 

“This morning is the best part of the day so far,” she said. “It's a nice representation of so many different agencies in the county.”


The effort nearly fell short by 13 gifts this year, but never fear – the Lake County Sheriff's Office staff joined in and provided over $1,100 in donations to buy the additional presents and make sure everyone on the list received a gift.


“The community always comes together to help us out,” said District Attorney Jon Hopkins.

 

Hopkins was all smiles as the gifts were loaded in the cars and made ready for delivery. Actually, everyone was smiling with the thoughts of delivering Christmas cheer and community support.


Chipper, the mascot for the California Highway Patrol, and McGruff the Crime Dog couldn’t help but smile as well, as they helped load up the gifts.


E-mail Tera Devroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

 

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California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay loads up toys to take to children on Monday, December 21, 2009. Photo by Tera deVroede.
 

 

 

 

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A Monday morning rainstorm didn't keep the toy effort from slowing down. Photo by Tera deVroede
 

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