Troopers bring gifts to hospital

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

Natchez &8212; The men in blue took time out from patrolling the highways to give the man in the red suit a hand Friday morning at Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Four Louisiana State Police troopers and one from the Mississippi Highway Patrol teamed up to make the holidays brighter for Kaylyn White and Kayne Davis, two youngsters forced to spend much of the holiday season in the hospital.

And judging from the number of toys they brought and children&8217;s reactions, it was a success. &8220;Wooooooo woooooooo,&8221; Davis said, admiring his new car-carrying tractor-trailer.

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The troopers knew how to shop for little boys, loading Kayne with toy planes, trucks, and all the Hot Wheels he could handle. Kayne, of Natchez, being treated for respiratory illness, his mother, Amanda, didn&8217;t know how long they would be there. But she did say each additional day would be easier thanks to the troopers. &8220;Y&8217;all are a lifesaver,&8221; his mother Amana said. &8220;He&8217;s been cooped up in here, about to drive me crazy.&8221;

They didn&8217;t do so badly by their female patient, either, showering Ferriday&8217;s Kaylyn with dolls, toys, stuffed animals, the works. Kaylyn&8217;s wide eyes and cries of &8220;baby&8221; let the troopers know they had gotten things right.

&8220;It&8217;s great to come over,&8221; LSP Trooper Rodney Helton said. &8220;Being in the hospital over Christmas is really tough on the parents, and if we can come and spread some cheer, that&8217;s what it&8217;s all about.&8221;

Helton accidentally began the program from his Troop E office in Alexandria last year. His child was in the hospital and brought toys over. Seeing other children with nothing to play with spurred him on. With toys donated from churches and a 4-H club from Vernon Parish, the troop will spread cheer to more than 20 children in Alexandria hospitals today. But they also reserved toys for the rest of the troop&8217;s nine-parish patrol district.

Natchez isn&8217;t in their patrol area, but the troop&8217;s public information officer Jeff Covington said Natchez Regional serves both sides of the river, so he called to see if any children from the Miss-Lou could use a little cheer.

Then he called MHP Troop M&8217;s information officer Rod Crawford to see if they wanted to come along. &8220;It&8217;s great for inter-department relations,&8221; Crawford said. &8220;I can&8217;t say enough for Jeff for driving this.&8221;

Neither can the parents of the children, or the hospital. &8220;It helps me a whole lot, I&8217;m in here with her and can&8217;t do any Christmas shopping,&8221; Kaylyn&8217;s mother Andrea Foster said.

The troopers said helping children is also good for them. Matthew Lemmons and Scott Speir agreed that giving toys to children &8212; and helping them learn to play with them &8212; was a lot more fun than dealing with car accidents on the highway.

Toys delivered, children happy, the troopers milled about in the hall before departing when Kayne emerged from his room and made several rounds of handshakes with his blue-suited Santas.

right, alright,&8221; he said with each shake.