FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2008

CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Jim Lowney, 908-527-4711

 

Union County Sheriff’s Officers Seek “Tree of Hope” Donations for Kids in Need
Sheriff Asks Donations Be Made in Name of Injured Officer

Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich, visits the “Tree of Hope” with (from left) MaryBeth Gray, Marianne Hopko Kim Weber and Linda Balog in the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth.
Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich, visits the “Tree of Hope” with (from left)
MaryBeth Gray, Marianne Hopko Kim Weber and Linda Balog in the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth.
(Photo by Bob McLaughlin/Union County Sheriff’s Office)

Elizabeth—Every holiday season for the last decade, Union County Sheriff’s Officers have set up their “Tree of Hope” in the courthouse seeking donations of toys and clothing for needy children throughout the county. Each year the response has been overwhelming. This year, the donations will have an extra meaning of hope for the officers.

Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich is asking donations to the “Tree of Hope” be made in the name of Sheriff’s Officer Chris Coon, who was critically injured in the line of duty in early December. Officer Coon is Sheriff Froehlich’s stepson.

“Everyone has been so wonderful asking us what they can do to help during this tough time,” said the Sheriff. “Right now all we can do is welcome their prayers and ask them to offer an act of kindness on Chris’ behalf.”

“A donation to the Tree of Hope, to needy kids, in Chris’ name is something people can do.”

The “Tree of Hope” was first planted in 1997 when Sheriff’s officers approached Sheriff Froehlich and related troubling stories of children who were going to experience a less than happy holiday season. The children the officers encountered were homeless or living in shelters, were victims of domestic violence or medically fragile.  Their parents or guardians did not have the financial ability to provide holiday gifts.

Every year since the Sheriff and “Tree of Hope” committee have erected a tree in the Union County Courthouse featuring paper ornaments. This year’s volunteers--Marianne Hopko, Kim Weber, MaryBeth Gray and Linda Balog--made the ornaments and wrote a particular gift on
each one.  

“These caring Sheriff’s Officers do a tremendous job in helping these children,” Sheriff Froehlich said. “Even during tough economic and personal times, it is important not to forget those kids who are less fortunate.”

Donations of cash to help provide additional gifts are also being sought.

Contributions of money (tax-deductible), toys and clothing can be sent to: Union County Sheriff’s Officers Tree of Hope, Union County Courthouse, 2 Broad Street, Elizabeth, N.J., 07207. For more information, call Sgt. Marianne Hopko at 908-558-2574.