By Connie Reddy Dwyer
During a recent interview with Oxford Police Chief Anthony Saad, he acknowledged how pleased he is that “our Police Department’s staff is involved with the community” in its ongoing efforts to reach out to those in need in Oxford.
On Sunday, September 2, the Oxford police, fire and EMS associations sponsored their “11th Annual “Operation Santa” for children up to age 10, at the Oxford Community Center.
This year 119 kids received presents at the pizza party, along with “hats and mittens,” said Chief’s Administrative Assistant Deb Light. Deb, a native of Oxford who grew up “across the street” from the Police Department, explained that through her community contacts she gets names of “families in need” and she matches residents with the children. She says that sometimes she will “see kids with no coats” and she keeps coats and backpacks at the station and will give them to any child in need. Most recently, she gave a backpack to an elementary child, and she was ecstatic. “Kids need somebody to care, and a coat or backpack is one way of showing that care.”
Deb also works with local churches and schools to find other children in need of coats and backpacks and mentioned that the Animal Control Officer had just stopped by the police station to give her the name of a family that could use some help.
Chief Saad listed some of the Police Department’s other charitable causes. This past Thanksgiving, for example, there was a “turkey run” at the station on November 19. Various town departments, including the accounting office, public works, animal control and library staff, Community Center, as well as the police force, provided turkey baskets for disadvantaged families. This was a competition of sort between town departments. The winning basket from the Community Center was judged by Oxford's new Town Manager Jennifer Callahan and Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Dennis Lamarche.
Another charity event was the 4th annual “No-Shave November With a Purpose,” which allowed police officers to “brave a beard,” which is generally not permitted. The purpose is to support “Home Base,” an organization formed by the Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital, to help veterans and families heal from the invisible wounds of war, such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. Retreats and counseling sessions are part of the support that helps these veterans when they come home. The police force raised $1,200 in 2017, and they hope to raise as much this year, if not more. Featured on the flyer in the front row for “No Shave November” were Oxford’s Detective Kevin LeBreton, Chief Saad and Sgt. Joseph Conlon.
Lastly, another important charitable cause is raising money for the Adam Bullen Memorial Foundation in October, Cancer Awareness Month. Adam died at age 30 of cancer and his Oxford family is committed to provide emotional and financial support for children and adults with cancer in Oxford and the surrounding communities. The Oxford Police Department raised $2,500 this year through the sales of the "OPD Pink Patch & T shirts.” Chief Saad said that Sergeant Jason Burdett was instrumental in the success of this effort. The Adam Bullen family goal is to “put a smile on a cancer patient’s face.”
To become involved in any of these charitable events, call Chief Anthony Saad at 508 987-0156, or visit one of the links below.