Members of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5-30 made the holidays more special Wednesday when they hosted the 63rd annual Christmas party for 165 Duval County Public Schools students with special needs.
The children arrived at the Fairgrounds & Expo Center in school buses with a police motorcycle escort, then sat down for turkey, stuffing and green beans served by FOP members.
After the tables were cleared, Santa Claus arrived and entered the room sitting on the hood of a police car. Then he and Mrs. Claus met and presented each child with a gift.
FOP President Nelson Cuba said the party is a way to do something for the children and an opportunity for retired officers to see old friends and colleagues.
“It’s a great time. There are officers who come back every year. Once you help out with this party, you don’t want to stop,” said Cuba.
FOP Lodge 5-30 represents almost 3,000 active and retired police officers, correctional officers and sworn bailiffs. It has more members than any other law enforcement organization in Florida and is the seventh largest FOP lodge in the United States.