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Wife of fallen Sheriff's Deputy carries on his good spirit at "Shop with a Cop"

By JOLEEN FERRIS

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Santa Claus traded in his beard for a badge on Tuesday, and, he got help spreading holiday cheer from a very special elf.

Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman would have been among the first in line to participate Tuesday in the Camden Central School District's "Shop with a Cop" program. Wyman was shot and killed in the line of duty back in June.

On Tuesday, his wife carried out the tradition that left an impression on her husband last year.

"Last year was Kurt's first year to do it and I just remember him coming home and telling me how much this meant to the kids and how much fun he had...he was a big kid, he was a kid at heart...so when I found out this year they were doing it again, I actually asked probably five months ago if I could be involved, because I wanted to uphold a tradition that he had already started and it's something that I knew meant a lot to him," says Lauren Wyman.

The Camden students, grades K-12, are chosen by financial need, but students who could benefit from positive interaction with a police officer are also chosen.

"The kids are thrilled when they come in. A lot of them, surprisingly, have never been to the mall before," says organizer Tracy Hooker.

Thanks to the generosity of the Camden area business community, each child had $100 to spend in Target.

"It goes fast," said nine-year-old fourth-grader Victoria Baker, who was shopping for family members and hadn't even thought of anything to get herself.

Shop with a Cop is also a big program with Target stores. They take part with various other municipalities, and donate at different levels depending on the need. On this day, Target donated $5 store gift cards to every Camden student taking part.

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