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Sheriff Plays Santa Claus for Adopt a Family

Buchanan County Sheriff Mike Strong is Santa for a day, delivering Christmas presents to families in need.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) From top to bottom he is Santa Claus.

And his reindeer are Sheriff's Department trucks.

Maybe the red suit covers his badge.

But Buchanan County Sheriff Mike Strong's mission is to make the holiday season better for some families that need it.

"I can't think of a nicer Christmas present than going out and being able to make someone else's Christmas better," Sheriff Strong said.

A caravan of their trucks followed each other from house to house on the delivery run.

The whole Sheriff's Department is involved, both in the delivery and the fundraising to make it happen.

"We start early trying to get donations and we do fundraisers to earn the money," said Monica Chivington, an administrative assistant who helped facilitate this whole thing.

And Sheriff Strong will admit that he's not really the leader of this effort, just the guy in the jolly red suit.

"The girls in the office and the people in the department really rally around this," he said.  "I'll tell you what - when you raise $4,000 in contributions and money - people are buying in."

It's $4,000 in contributions for four families and six seniors.

Sheriff Strong's participation in the Adopt a Family program actually started when his coworkers wanted to give him a Christmas gift a few years ago.

"The first year when we bought him a present, he said he didn't really need anything else.  But he'd much rather donate something to Adopt a Family," said Karen Smith, another of the department's administrative assistants.  "That's how it got started.  I thought that was just great; he didn't want anything.  He just wanted to pass something on to somebody who needed it."

And the people who need it are getting it:

A Christmas better than they could ever imagine.
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