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Arissa Viering | Goodday Mineral Wells | 11/10/2020 | The Wishing Well of Mineral Wells | Mineral Wells Police Officers Association

Dustin Richardson has served as the Mineral Wells Police Officers Association President for three years and is passionate about giving back to the Mineral Wells community alongside an amazing group of MWPD officers, department employees, and volunteers.

The Mineral Wells Police Officers Association is a separate organization from the Mineral Wells Police Department that personally raises funds and volunteers their time to help the community and host events. Within the last few years, the MWPOA has hosted movie nights in the park, floats at the Merry Wells parade, Easter egg hunts, and more. However, this year is a bit different.

With the COVID pandemic, several plans had to change for the MWPOA, including their plans for another float in the Merry Wells parade. Richardson states that the plan to cancel the Merry Wells Parade float came about spontaneously:

“We were having our POA meeting before the trunk or treat and the new business on the agenda was the Merry Wells parade. We discussed the budget for the parade and then someone brought up ‘why don’t we do something different this year?'”

That same someone suggested that the MWPOA donate the original parade float funds to Tommy’s Angel Tree Toy Drive instead.

“You could see the room light up when they said it. With COVID going on, political or no political views, and unemployment…it was just the right thing to do. It wasn’t even a matter up for debate. We didn’t even have to vote on it.”

With that moment, the MWPOA decided to announce to the community of their plans to cancel their parade float to give gifts to the children and the positive response from the community only grew from there.

Tommy’s Angel Tree was originally started by an officer named Tommy in the 1990’s. Throughout his interactions and dealings with the public as a volunteer fireman and police officer, he happened upon a situation where a family lost everything in a fire during Christmas time. Officer Tommy brought several presents for the children of that family and began to do so for more children each year. After Officer Tommy’s passing, the MWPOA and Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department continued the tradition, naming it “Tommy’s Angel Tree.”

“We don’t have the children’s names. We get a list of their genders and their likes,” Richardson states. With that list, the MWPOA will be donating approximately $2,000 towards helping these children and their families. Each family who applies is required to provide their information including income, number of children, occupation, and more. Then, a selection process is performed.

The decision to utilize the parade float funding was no small feat. The MWPOA takes a “lot of pride” in their Merry Wells Parade float:

“This would have been our fourth year doing it. We really look forward to Christmas. It’s an opportunity for everybody in the association to hang out and build a float and we get to have the joy of seeing kids drive by.”

Richardson states that one of his hopes is to “go to Walmart and take half the tree down” with these funds.

Another hope that Richardson has is for the community to view the MWPOA and all police officers in a positive way:

“We deal with people sometimes on the absolute worst day of their lives . . . We just want people to know that it does not matter if you were arrested the night before and the next day you want to bring your kids to the trunk or treat. We care about your wellbeing and ultimately we care about the youth. We are focusing on the youth to help them understand that we are here to help.”

Most of all, Richardson explains, “Our main goal is to bridge the gap between our community and the police department.”

Those interested in donating to Tommy’s Angel Tree Drive may choose an angel from the Christmas tree located at Mineral Wells Walmart or drop off gifts at the fire department. For more information about Tommy’s Angel Tree, click here.


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