Christmas Crusade helps families

Michael Plauche, of Denham Springs, grew quiet as Lt. Lance Landry, of the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, approached him at his home Friday morning.

Plauche, who has been out of work and will soon be discharged from the U.S. Army National Guard because of a knee injury, hasn’t been able to buy many Christmas presents for his children.

Landry solved Plauche’s problem by bringing gifts for his children to his home.

The Sheriff’s Office distributed gifts for more than 1,400 Livingston Parish children this Christmas, organizers said. The gifts were either donated or purchased with donated money as part of the 26th Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office Christmas Crusade.

“It’s very special because I’ve been out of work because of an injury,” Plauche said.

The gifts, Plauche said, will make this Christmas a special one for his daughter Bailey, 2, and his son Taylor, 5.

“This is huge,” he said with his wife, Alicia, standing by his side. “I can’t thank y’all enough. The kids wouldn’t have much without it.”

More than 100 deputies — all volunteers who weren’t working Friday — from the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office spanned the parish early Friday morning delivering presents to 674 families so that 1,450 children could wake up with something for Christmas this year.

Sheriff Jason Ard said the Christmas Crusade is a way for law enforcement officers to give back to their community and help children see officers in a more positive light.

“Many times the kids are so used to seeing us in a bad light,” Ard said. “They see us serve warrants, divorce papers ... We want them to know that we’re here to help.”

“Words can’t explain the humbleness of us being able to do this,” Ard said.

The crusade started 25 years ago under Sheriff Willie Graves and now continues under Ard’s leadership. Ard has been involved with the program for the past 10 years.

“I am very familiar with the program and fell in love with it,” Ard said. “I actually know what it means to the community and the kids.”

Ros’Shonda Moses-Davis accepted her gifts from Landry, and took bags of others for a relative, Tiffany Moses.

“It’s going to mean so much to them,” Moses-Davis said about the gifts for her children, O’Resha Moses, 9; Dy’Lan Weary, 7; and La’Tajanae Moses, 6.

“We thought we weren’t going to be able to do anything for them for Christmas,” Moses-Davis said. “We just moved here and we’re trying to purchase a home.”

James Brown seemed humbled as he also accepted bags of gifts on Friday morning.

“It helps out a lot, especially with the prices of everything going up so high,” Brown said.

The gifts, he said, are for his daughter, Alivia, 9.

“She’s going to be really excited,” he said.