EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
Every Granite Shoals police officer has children, so they know how stressful and costly back-to-school shopping can be for parents. Always looking for ways to help the community, officers are once again holding the Operation Fill the Boat school supplies drive.
“This is our second year of doing it,” Sgt. John Ortis said. “Last year, one of our former officers, Officer (Christie) Carter, she was a single mother and she talked to us about doing a school supply drive. At first, we thought, Fill the Patrol Car, but then we had this boat, and it’s bigger, so it became Operation Fill the Boat.’”
To donate, drop off school supplies in the boat, which is parked outside the Granite Shoals Police Department, 410 N. Phillips Ranch Road. The Granite Shoals Police Officer’s Association is sponsoring the event with the support of the department.
Ortis said officers will regularly check the boat and take any donated supplies inside.
While the Back 2 School Blast was recently held in Marble Falls for district students and their families, Ortis noted that many Granite Shoals residents didn’t have the time or the ability to attend the event. Through Operation Fill the Boat, officers will collect donated supplies and take them to Highland Lakes Elementary School in Granite Shoals for staff and students.
“That way, the teachers have the things they need if students don’t have all their supplies,” Ortis said.
Last year, officers took two pickup truck loads to the elementary campus.
School supplies lists are available for all grades. Ortis and Chief Gary Boshears recommend putting the supplies into a backpack and dropping it into the boat.
“That way, if a student shows up and they don’t have school supplies, the teacher just hands them a backpack,” Ortis said. “And they’re ready to go.”
While law enforcement is the main mission of the Granite Shoals Police Department, Ortis said officers are committed to community service. During the school year, officers stop by Highland Lakes Elementary School to have lunch with the students. It’s a chance for the kids to see officers as people wanting to help them, not out to get them.
Throughout the year, the department maintains a strong community service role. It’s something Boshears emphasizes and encourages as the chief.
“This is a great community,” he said. “And we’re here to help.”
Operation Fill the Boat will continue for a short time past the first day of class.
“We do this because we love this community,” Ortis said. “Granite Shoals is a great community, and they really support us. This is a way for us to support them.”
For more information on the Granite Shoals Police Officer’s Association, check out its Facebook page.