Kaitly Magarino receives a Christmas present from Officer Tim Garr at her Medford home Tuesday as part of a program sponsored by the Medford Police Association. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch

Medford police deliver spirit of season

Kaitly Magarino's eyes widened with delight as Medford police officers surprised her family with more than a dozen Christmas gifts Tuesday.

After carefully unwrapping a box containing new shoes, the 6-year-old wanted to open more presents as part of the Medford Police Association's annual program that helps low-income families.

Kaitly looked at her sister, 11-year-old Marietta Magarino, who was a little reluctant to open her present in front of strangers.

"Do you want me to open it for you?" Kaitly said.

Marietta declined, then smiled after opening a box that revealed a shiny necklace.

The police association collects $10 a month from officers and receives support from other local organizations to provide gifts to 27 families, representing more than 50 children.

In another program, officers carry presents around in their trunks, which they distribute during the course of calls. The Jackson County Sheriff's Department has a similar program.

Police Officer Tim Garr and Nick Alden, a community service officer, helped deliver the packages to Kaitly and Marietta as the rest of the family watched.

Police Sgt. Chris Whipple said a network of organizations, businesses and police officers works together to make sure low-income families receive gifts.

"Without something like this, if they got any presents, it would be limited," he said.

Agencies such as the Children's Advocacy Center, Hearts with a Mission and schools all make recommendations about the families to support, he said.

Sometimes the gifts are practical, so these agencies find out shoe sizes or other information. Gifts ranged from bicycles to scientific calculators.

Rosa Menendez, 32, surrounded by her four children, said she never expected to receive so many gifts.

"Thank you so much," she told the officer.

Garr told Menendez that a lot of people who work for the city and others donated the gifts.

Garr and Menendez's son, 16-year-old Herman Menendez, also had another surprise.

Garr was Herman's soccer coach two years ago.

"He's really a fantastic player," Garr said. "He's got incredible skills."

Herman, who is still active in soccer, expressed his appreciation for all the gifts the family received.

"I was surprised," he said. "I didn't expect it. I'm very happy about it."

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail

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