For Christmas, residents can show a gesture of appreciation to police officers and firefighters with the “Adopt a Hero” initiative. CONTRIBUTED

‘Adopt a Hero’ to give a Christmas stocking to first-responders

MADISON – To say “Merry Christmas” in a practical way, residents can donate to the “Adopt a Hero” initiative for gifts to Madison’s police officers, firefighters and office co-workers.

In its sixth year, Adopt a Hero started when Christi Spencer asked her neighbors in Greenbrier Woods about their interest in the idea of ‘adopting’ a police officer for Christmas. “Their response was so positive, and I promised, if they signed up to adopt, I would provide a stocking for each family to fill,” Spencer said.

“We started with adopting every officer that year. ‘Adopt a Hero’ was born in 2017,” Spencer said. This outreach has grown to include dispatch employees, administration personnel and accountants.

“Greenbrier Woods’ devotion to this passion project has remained a constant since the birth of this idea. In fact, adopting an officer has become a family tradition for many in our neighborhood,” Spencer said.

The neighborhood group on Facebook is the fastest way to update all the families about the number of police officers who have been adopted and the number still available. “I use Facebook, Instant Messenger and texting to keep neighbors and friends updated several times a week,” she said.

To track ‘adoptions,’ Spencer has an organized system that accounts for every police department employee and firefighter. A resident donor personalizes each stocking and fills it with treats and ‘goodies’ for a specific hero.

After delivery to Spencer’s home or Asbury Church, each stocking is placed in a box labeled by department and station for police and fire.

Greenbrier Woods residents and volunteers from Asbury and around town help with delivering the stockings on a designated day. “It’s a team effort and made possible because of the love, generosity and time given by so many,” Spencer said.

This year, 129 police employees and 83 in the fire department, including the four stations, will receive a stocking this year. Many individuals and families include a greeting card with their donation.

To adopt a hero in the fire department, visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F45AFA922A6FA7-46333901-adopt.

To adopt a hero in the police department, visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F45AFA922A6FA7-46329480-adopt

From this website, select and sign up for the hero (up to 15). Buy a stocking to fill with gifts, and attach a tag with the hero’s name.

The last step is to return the stocking to Christi Spencer, 42 Autumn Ashe Road, Madison 35756; or to Asbury Church, 980 Hughes Road, Madison 35758 (Building 1, Reception). The deadline is Dec. 15.

“Enjoy knowing that you have made a beautiful and positive impact in the life of someone very, very special,” Spencer said.

Police Chief Johnny Gandy and Fire Chief David Bailey have written letters of appreciation. “What has been a source of joy for me personally are the comments received from those who participated in adopting a hero,” Spencer said.

“Being able to make a positive impact in the lives of others has brought our community so much joy by giving back to our incredible Madison Police Department and Madison Fire and Rescue Department heroes!”

For more information, call 256-642-8858, or email christi.spencer@weareasbury.com or christi_spencer@msn.com.

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