SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — The shooting death of San Marcus police officer Kenneth Copeland has hit the entire community of San Marcos hard.
Tuesday night, dozens answered the call to honor the 19-year veteran by supporting a cause he really cared about: Operation Blue Santa.
Operation Blue Santa is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, community based corporation, organized by the San Marcos Police Department. The “Blue Santa” is literally a police officer in uniform, who will give a toy to a less fortunate child in our community
“These people want to help and that’s really nice,” said Corporal Laray Taylor.
Taylor oversees the Blue Santa program in San Marcos and says this year alone, donated and wrapped gifts will go to 1,400 kids who otherwise wouldn’t get Christmas gifts this holiday season.
He says the feeling in the room Tuesday was different than any other.
“We lost an officer last night so the question was, well are we still going to do this? And people were asking and yes we are,” Taylor said. “If I was asking Ken, he would say man go ahead and do that. That’s the kind of person he was.”
Those in the San Marcos community also wanted to step up and help by giving back to the community he served so proudly. “Losing a police officer is a stab in the heart for any community,” said volunteer Cory Glisson-Munier.
He showed up to help wrap presents Tuesday night and said he watched the shooting tragedy unfold Monday. “This shooting actually happened behind my subdivision, looking out my window you could see nothing but red and blue lights,” Glisson-Munier said.
He just couldn’t sit by and do nothing, so he put out a call to neighbors and friends on social media to come wrap presents to make others’ Christmas brighter.
“I think that he would be so proud of these people who are here in this community, this is what San Marcos is. We are embracing him,” Glisson-Munier said.
Operation Blue Santa in San Marcos is still in need of gifts. Volunteers ran out of gifts to wrap Tuesday night so organizers are hopeful the community will step up and give back.
“I want the community to know that this police department supports them and we appreciate everything they do for us,” Taylor said. “And I want our officers to know the same thing, these folks love y’all.”
To donate gifts or volunteer time to wrap presents, click here.