PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — It was the last day of school for students in our area before their holiday break, and the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office made an already exciting day even better.
The sheriff's office hosted its second ’Santa Cop’, waiting at area bus stops to surprise children with a gift bag before they head home.
“Deputies have packed over 400 bags that we’re giving out to kids all over St Lucie County,” said Major Brian Hester.
“This is the best Friday,” said 6-year-old Avalon.
Bags were stuffed with items donated to the sheriff's office.
“The challenge for our deputies is to give as many of these as out as they can through interactions with kids, whether it be at convenience stores, at schools, wherever they interact,” Hester explained.
But one family got an even bigger surprise.
One of their own deputies, Tasha Suhling, who was just deployed as part of the Army Reserves. She had to leave her husband and two sons before Christmas.
“She’s going to be gone a long time… and we knew Christmas would be challenging for them. So, we put our energies together and brought Christmas to them this morning,” said Sheriff Ken Mascara.
Patrol cars showed up at their home with sirens and lights, surprising the children who had no idea it was all for them. Deputies toted bags of toys and presents into their home.
“Really appreciate it,” said their father and Tasha’s husband, Edward Suhling.
The gift for Suhling was seeing his children light up during this hard transition of not getting to see their mother.
“It’s mostly hard for the kids. I’ve got to be a mommy and a daddy at the same time,” Suhling said.
For a season built upon traditions, this is one law enforcement and the community both look forward to.
“It’s the best part of the job,” Mascara said.