Las Vegas Sun

November 22, 2017

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State troopers deliver toys to sick children


Jackie Valley

Trooper Bobby Borchardt hands Colin Clifford, 7, toys during NHP’s visit to Sunrise Children’s Hospital Thursday afternoon.

Nevada Highway Patrol troopers beat Santa to Sunrise Children’s Hospital, delivering gifts to young patients on Wednesday.

The tradition began 14 years ago when Trooper Robert Whitaker died in a car accident, leaving behind a young daughter. Fellow troopers collected money for his family and decided to spread cheer at University Medical Center’s pediatric unit with leftover funds.

Since then, the gift-giving operation has grown to include Sunrise and the St. Rose Sienna campus, Trooper Jeremie Elliott said. This year, 24 troopers each donated $250 toward the cause.

“When we go in there — just for a few brief moments — (the children) forget about the pain and suffering,” Elliott said. “It’s worth it for us.”

Six troopers delivered the presents, which included a replica NHP patrol car and a dancing stuffed dog, to patients up and down the hallways on the hospital’s pediatrics floor and in pediatric intensive care unit.

In a hospital playroom, 5-year-old Felipe Ocampo squealed with delight as Trooper Brittany Burtner handed him toys.

“The little boys with the cars — they go nuts when they see them,” she said.

The group visited children at UMC on Wednesday morning and headed to the St. Rose Siena campus after stopping at Sunrise.

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