GAINESVILLE - Gainesville Police Officers took needy children and their families on the 11th annual 'Shop with a Gainesville Cop' at Wal-Mart on Shallowford Road Wednesday.
One of those children was seven year old Jeremiah Williams, who was rescued from a burning house early Saturday, November 9th by Gainesville Patrolmen Corporal Drew Reed and Steven Folkers. Jeremiah's mother Roxanne Williams said she was glad they were there.
"They saved my son from the fire," she said. "If they had not come down when they did, my son probably would not have made it."
The child was one of nine people inside the house that caught fire on Banks Street. When Reed and Folkers arrived at the scene around 1:30 a.m. Jeremiah was trapped inside. They managed to pull the boy from a window.
Reed and Folkers received their department's Valor Award Tuesday night at Gainesville's City Council meeting for the child's rescue. They said it was an honor, but no less an honor than to help Jeremiah and his family go Christmas shopping. Jeremiah's family lost nearly everything in the fire and the child suffered head and facial burns that sent him to Grady Hospital in Atlanta.
"To be able to be with him and know that he's alive and doing well and to help him and his sister get some presents and help his mother get some things for Christmas is more rewarding in my opinion, "Reed said.
Folkers said Jeremiah looked happy and enjoyed filling up his shopping cart with toys.
"I'm just happy to see him up and moving around and he looks real good," Folkers said.
Police Chief Brian Kelly said that the officers who volunteered to help with 'Shop with a Gainesville Cop' were having as much fun as the children.
"We've been able to assist 25 children in our community this year and the officers helping the children are having a great time," Chief Kelly said.
Kelly added this is the 11th year for the Christmas community outreach event and it is growing thanks to donations from Wal-Mart, Pilgrim's Pride and the Gainesville Rotary Club.