Highland Village police officer David Harney has every reason to believe the third annual Denton County First Responders Toy Drive will go off without a hitch. For starters, the initiative — which culminates with a festive and jam-packed night of fun at Sam Pack Five Star Ford Lewisville on December 5 — has grown every year and is expected to reel in over 5,000 toys for local kids in need. But there’s also a rumor that a real live reindeer will make an appearance. That’s the sort of Christmas miracle you don’t see too often. And the only way to know for sure if it happens or not is to show up. “I hear it’s in the works, and I wouldn’t be shocked,” Officer Harney said about a possible reindeer sighting. “We’re encouraging as many residents, families, businesses, and police departments as possible to show up, bring toys, and support a great cause.”
Denton County families in need are bound to benefit from plenty of worthwhile toy drives this time of year — each with the shared goal of giving children the Christmas they deserve. That list of area toy drives organically gets longer every year to remove the burden of guilt that impoverished families may feel when their children don’t receive gifts from Santa. And perhaps one of the largest of the lot is the Denton County First Responders Toy Drive. The idea was initiated in 2021 when Sue Bowman from Five Star Ford and Highland Village Chief of Police Doug Reim agreed to kick-start the first toy drive in the area led by Denton County first responders. In their inaugural year, they pooled together 12 police departments, two state trooper departments, and three fire departments. Last year, those numbers exploded to include 16 Denton County police departments, four state trooper departments, and five fire departments. Police departments from Corinth, as far north as Pilot Point and Elm Ridge, and as far west as Roanoke, traveled to Lewisville to participate in the festivities. Those numbers are naturally expected to balloon this year.
“I was there for the first two. Toy drives and other events like this are near and dear to my heart, so I was willing to participate in any way I could,” Corinth police officer Jeremy Reyna said. “At this time of the year, everyone has a toy drive. But the reality is that we could have hundreds more of these and still not have enough to help every family in need.” Reyna added, “It’s cool for the kids to come out and see the fire trucks and police cars with the sirens on. The community can drop toys off at the police departments or bring them to the event on December 5. We want to get as many toys donated as possible.” Bowman added that events like this are necessary for everyone to have the best Christmas possible. “By doing this together, we help more people. We can’t do it by ourselves,” she said. “And it’s true that we’re working on a live reindeer.” That won’t be all. Anyone who shows up on December 7 will be treated to live music courtesy of David Hodges of DH Productions, food, snow cones from Kona Ice, games, opportunities to hang out with local police officers, and more.
The Summit Club of Flower Mound will be cooking hot dogs, and several area mayors, senators, and local dignitaries will be there to unload toys. “It’s gotten bigger every year. Sue has really been ringing the bells and beating the drums to get people involved, and we could always use more of that,” Harney said. “We are blessed in Highland Village, just as all the other police officers in the area are. We just love having the time to give back and provide families and kids with what they might not have if we weren’t collecting for them.”