'Operation Blue Santa' helps makes children's Christmas wishes come true

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CRANE, Texas (KOSA) -- It was a busy Tuesday night for a group of police officers in Crane, Texas who finished a special assignment six months in the making.

The operation is called "Blue Santa" and it was easily the department's most memorable assignment of the year.

Their department might be small, but their call load is anything but.

Burglaries, assaults and DWI's -- the Crane Police Department responds to it all.

But Tuesday night's assignment went beyond the badge and came straight from the heart.

"We have lots of them that have fallen on hard times," said Crane Police Chief Jason Little. "When the oilfield was down they lost their jobs, so some of them are unemployed at the moment, so hopefully this helps them have a good Christmas."

With help from their community, Chief Little and his officers surprised 33 kids from 11 different families with an early Christmas.

The Sanchez kids were the first ones on the department's list.

But instead of asking for the latest gaming system, or a Barbie dream house, Alejandro and his sister Maria Sanchez asked for something that most of us take for granted: a bed and comforter.

"We're very excited right now; this is incredible," Alejandro explained as he smiled from ear to ear. "Just all the presents here, we don't know how to say, thank you very much."

"This is not only just helping us, it's helping my parents too," Maria said.

Faced with financial troubles, Alejandro and his sister have been sleeping on the floor. So when they were asked to fill out a wish list by the police department, a bed was their number one wish.

"To see kids that young of an age excited over something like that instead of video games, it's a humbling, emotional experience," Little said.

For two hours, police officers delivered presents to families facing hard times like the Sanchez's. It was an emotional sight to see, but a rewarding one to say the least.

"I want all kids to know that police are their friends. We're not against them or we're not always here for a bad reason," Little said.

This was the Crane Police Department's second year hosting "Blue Santa." The officers take time on their days off to raise money and then go out and buy the gifts themselves.

This is a tradition that the department plans to keep for years to come.