Multi-Purposed Cute and Cuddly Fundraiser
Murphy Police Explorers Post 2005 is selling stuffed hedgehogs for a multi-purposed fundraiser. (Front, from left) Makayla Herron, Annabella Condran, Hannah Adamson and Lee Cottle. (Back , from left) Zeshawan Saleemi, Jacob Martin, Cameron Foley and Ethan Hardy.
Murphy Police Explorers Post 2005 was founded in 2005. Regarding why being an advisor for this group is important to her, Murphy Police Detective Sarah Ashmore said, “It is awesome to have the opportunity to provide a real picture of what it is like to be in law enforcement. We are able to shape them to be adults ready to conquer the world. I’m invited to weddings and graduations of previous Explorers. They become a part of our family.” She feels that the positive influence she, and other Murphy police officers, provide to the teens creates a ripple effect throughout the community. Ashmore has volunteered with the Explorers since she started working at MPD over eight years ago. Over the years she has noticed an increase in females joining the post. She said, “This shows a shift that law enforcement is no longer a male driven career.”
Officer Kyle Kucauskas was one of the founding members of Murphy Police Explorers Post 2005. Officer Kucauskas passed away unexpectedly in 2013. The Kyle Kucauskas Scholarship Foundation was established in 2014 and has awarded scholarships to two or three students ranging in value from $750 - $1,000. To qualify for this scholarship, students must live within the surrounding school districts and pursue a career in law enforcement. Ashmore explained that the field is wide and includes law enforcement, forensics, forensic psychology and others. She said one scholarship recipient was pursuing a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) degree.
In the past, these scholarships were partially funded by the ‘Mile for Kyle’ walk which was held in conjunction with the City of Murphy’s Annual Maize Days 5K. However, this walk no longer occurs so the scholarship foundation needs to find additional funding. (Annually, Kyle Kucauskas’ parents donate generously to the foundation.)
Murphy Police Explorers Post 2005 holds an annual fundraiser that produces multiple benefits. They sell sponsorships for stuffed animals which are delivered to Children’s Hospital. It costs $20 to sponsor a stuffed animal; half of the proceeds will go directly to the Explorers. Ashmore said that you can buy the stuffed animal for yourself, but their main goal is to receive sponsorships for the stuffed animal so they can deliver them to the hospital who will give them to children who are having surgery.
Part of the funds raised will be allocated to the Kyle Kucauskas Scholarship Foundation and part will be used to offset costs involved with being an Explorer. When a student joins the Explorers, Ashmore said, “We outfit them.” That includes the duty belts, holsters, red guns and a full uniform. In December, they want to take two teams of four Explorers to a competition. This year they also need to buy jackets.
Ashmore said being a Police Explorer builds character, teaches respect, problem solving and much more. She said this experience helps them build their resume. There have been eight members of Murphy Police Explorers Post 2005 who have gone on to work in the criminal justice system and eight are in the military working as police or security. They also provide many community service hours.
If you would like to help fund the Kyle Kucauskas Scholarship Foundation and help raise funds for Murphy Police Explorers Post 2005, sponsor and/or buy a stuffed hedgehog this year. Explorers will be selling the hedgehogs at Christmas in the Park on Dec. 6. You can also contact Det. Ashmore at firstname.lastname@example.org support this cause.
Because all stuffed animals must be in their original packaging when given to Children’s Hospital, the 10 sample hedgehogs used for selling purposes, will be given to children in need who come to Murphy Police Department.