Christmas With a Cop delights students |

Christmas With a Cop delights students

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer
Photos by Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal

If the event were called “Shop ‘Til You Drop,” graveyard shift Deputy Nathan Brehm would have won.

Volunteering along with dozens of others to take needy Carson City students on $100 shopping sprees at Wal-Mart on Thursday, Brehm found himself sitting outside the nail salon as his two 11-year-old female charges got manicures.

He’d just completed a nine-hour shift and slept in his car for a bit before participating in a tax-free morning filled with generosity, gratitude and smiles.

“They got a few things for their families, so this is what they wanted to do for themselves,” Brehm explained.

The manicurist knocked $10 off of each of the girl’s tabs, and another customer sitting nearby heard what was going on and chipped in $15 apiece.

The tired deputy was astounded by her generosity.

“That was very nice. Thank you,” he said to the woman, who asked to not be named.

“I just did it because I wanted to,” she said, blushing.

“I’m a gang officer so the guys I deal with aren’t very pleasant for the most part,” said Brehm. “This is nice.”

The longer Brehm sat in that chair – nearly 40 minutes – the more tired he became. With his eyes half open, he apologetically left the store while another deputy took over for him at the helm of the shopping cart.

One hundred Carson City middle school students were treated to Thursday’s “Christmas With a Cop” event as part of the Carson City School District’s Kids in Transition program. The money came from community donations, which the school district matched, and Wal-Mart waived the sales taxes, said Jeanette Famoso, Kids in Transition coordinator.

Norma Santoyo, the sheriff’s department’s human resources manager, took part for the first time this year. She stood in the children’s movie aisle while one of the two boys she was shopping with looked for a movie for his 4-month-old cousin. He settled on “Barney.”

“They’ve been very generous, mostly buying for others,” Santoyo whispered.

Throughout the morning, that spirit was replayed.

Lyon County Deputy Robert Wilson’s seventh-grader fretted about a gift for her grandmother. The odd couple sauntered through kitchenwares.

“I don’t know what to get her. Help me,” she whined to Wilson.

“She’s your granma,” he said with laugh. After a short visit to an aisle of coffee pots, the girl became overwhelmed.

“Lets go look for something for my grandpa,” she said. “He’s easy.”

A 14-year-old boy walked through the aisles pushing a $68 hot pink girl’s bike.

“That’s for his little sister,” said Deputy Jose Gomez, as he, the boy and Gomez’s other charge, a 13-year-old uncle, made their way to baby clothes. The 13-year-old picked out camouflage Onesies for his 3-week-old nephew.

At the checkout, several volunteers dug into their own pockets when the charges rang up as more than the $100 allotted. Deputy Sal Acosta paid an extra $90 for a trio of brothers he’d escorted throughout the morning.

As a child, Acosta took advantage of similar programs, he said, and he sees this event as one way to give back.

Deputy Dan Ochsenschlager, accompanied by his K9 partner, Teddy, forked over an additional $40 for the items purchased by the sixth-grader he’d escorted.

At the checkout, Teddy became confused over a pair of tiger slippers – “Footwear or my toy?” one could imagine him thinking. The golden retriever stood up on his back legs and began to drag the slipper off the counter, before Ochsenschlager caught on.

Coroner Ruth Beseler, standing in line with an 11-year-old girl, smiled.

“We’re a little over, but it’s good,” she said. “This is so much fun!”

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.