Among the many fine programs that make Christmastime a brighter and happier time for needy children, the "Shop With a Hero" program is one that not only brings smiles to children's faces, but also creates a bond with youngsters and someone they can look up to, admire and, someday, aspire to.
Funding for "Shop With a Hero" comes from participating police officers, sheriff's deputies, firefighters and emergency responders, and from Wal-Mart, where the "heroes" take their young charges to shop.
This year's "heroes" were Cape Girardeau firefighters, Cape Girardeau County and Scott County sheriff's officers and Cape Girardeau and Scott City police officers.
The 60 youngsters who got to shop were 5 to 7 years old and selected on the basis of need by counselors, teachers and principals in local schools.
It's a good thing to make sure youngsters have a good holiday, and it's a good thing to reinforce the notion that authority figures like the men and women who serve in law enforcement and as emergency responders are folks these children might want to grow up to be.
Hats off to the officers and responders in Cape Girardeau County and Scott County who make the "Shop With a Hero" program possible. Surely the experience is one of their holiday highlights.