Officer surprises family with gifts

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, December 29, 2016

A local family got a surprise last week when a police officer stopped by their home with gifts on Christmas Eve.

Master Police Officer Paul Hutta was called to the Jericho neighborhood on a call for service a few days before Christmas. When he walked into one home, he noticed a tabletop Christmas tree with no presents under it.

As he was taking a statement from Marie Wood, he learned the reason for the lack of presents.

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“She brought up she wasn’t going to have a good Christmas this year, because she’s got bills to pay,” he said.

He learned Wood has two sons, ages 10 and 12. Hutta decided to take it upon himself to purchase gifts for the kids.

“I just didn’t want a child to wake up in the morning and not have gifts,” he said.

Hutta returned to the home during his Christmas Eve shift and delivered gifts including a Nerf gun, football and Frisbee.

“My goal was just for the boys to have a smile on their face on Christmas morning,” Hutta said.

Wood said she and her sons, Kenneth Wood and James Phelps, were grateful for Hutta’s gesture.

“I cried,” she said of her reaction when Hutta showed up at her house. “I thanked him for that.”

Hutta also returned to the home during his Christmas Day shift to spend a few moments with the family.

He didn’t seek recognition for his good deed. Others only found out because Wood called police dispatch on Christmas Eve to extend her thanks. The department then posted it on Facebook, where more than 1,000 people have liked the post.

Hutta sees what he did for the young men as part of his job.

“Just because I wear a badge doesn’t mean I don’t have a kind heart,” he said. “We’re not just out there to arrest people. We are a representative of the community.”