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Springettsbury Police spread Christmas cheer

Christopher Dornblaser
717-505-5436/@YDDornblaser

Some lucky — and unsuspecting — folks in Springettsbury Township got a little Christmas cheer this past week.

Springettsbury Township police on Friday gave out $100 to 10 random people in an effort to make the holidays a bit brighter.

The department received an anonymous donation of $1000 for the purpose of giving the money out to the community. They decided to break the donation into 10 $100 increments and hand them out throughout the day.

Helping out: One officer in both the morning and evening shifts were given $500 each to give out to people at random.

Cpl. John Lawton was offered the opportunity to be the one to hand out the money to people Friday afternoon, an offer he was happy to take.

"I like getting out there and talking to people," he said.

"Are you joking?": Lawton was driving around the Boscov's parking lot at the York Galleria Mall when he pulled up beside Evelyn Booth, of York City, to offer her some money.

"Are you joking?" she said.

Booth accepted the gift.

"You may have to drive me home!" she said, overcome with emotion.

Lawton was happy to lend a hand.

"I'm glad that she was so thankful about it," he said.

Evely Boothe, back, of York City, hugs Cpl. John Lawton, front, of the Springettsbury Township Police Department, after he gave her one of five-$100 bills in the township in York, Pa. on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. The money was part of a1,000 dollar donation made by a family who asked for it to be given to the community by the department. (Dawn J. Sagert - The York Dispatch)

Michael and Dana Salter were walking back to their home in Yorkshire House Apartments when Lawton spoke to them. They accepted his offer and thanked him and the department for their service to the community.

"We do appreciate that," he said.

"Big surprise": Ron Schwimer and Angie Bartholomew of Coaldale, Pennsylvania, were finishing shopping with Ron's 1 1/2- year-old son, Benjamin, at the Walmart at 2801 E. Market St. when Lawton offered to give them the monetary gift.

Once they accepted, Lawton handed the $100 bill to Benjamin who happily took it.

Schwimer was in the area visiting his mother for the holidays, and said he was happy to receive the extra money.

"It was a big surprise and comes in handy for the holidays," he said, adding that the gesture was much appreciated.

Ron Schwimer, left, Angie Bartholomew, right, and 18-month-old Benjamin Schwimer, center, all of Coaldale, react after being given one of five-$100 bills by Cpl. John Lawton, right, of the Springettsbury Township Police Department, in York, Pa. on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. The money was part of a1,000 dollar donation made by a family who asked for it to be given to the community by the department. (Dawn J. Sagert - The York Dispatch)

Double luck: Dominique Cabvell, of York City, was on her way to apply for a job with the local Marriot when Lawton asked if she would like some money.

Cabvell, in a stroke of luck, had already received money earlier in day from the officer giving out his $500. She said she was homeless and used the money to purchase gifts for her three children. Lawton still offered the money for her.

She happily accepted, hugging Lawton. She said she was overjoyed to receive the extra money.

"It's definitely a good feeling," she said.

Prophetess Dominique Cabvell, currently homeless, reacts after Cpl. John Lawton, right, of the Springettsbury Township Police Department, tells her that he would like to give her one of five-$100 bills by  in York, Pa. on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. Cabvell quickly responded that she had actually been a recipient of one of the donations earlier in the day, so she would leave the decision to him, as to whether or not she should offered the gift again. Lawton again offered the gift, and Cabvell accepted. The money was part of a1,000 dollar donation made by a family who asked for it to be given to the community by the department. (Dawn J. Sagert - The York Dispatch)

"It means a lot": Rosa Nazario, of York City, was sitting on a bench near her work, the Salvation Army, when Lawton pulled up in front of her and asked to talk to her.

She said when she first saw him pull up, she thought she was in trouble.

"I'm a good girl!" she said, laughing.

Nazario said she recently moved back with her mother after he father passed away around a month ago. She said she feared the police visit was to tell her she had lost another family member. Lawton assured her that was not the case.

Nazario was shaking when she accepted the money.

"It means a lot," she said.

She said she would be using the money to pay for groceries.

Reaction: After handing out all the money, Lawton said the only thing he wished he could have done was had more money to hand out. He said it felt really good to help out.

"When you see people's reaction, you see it really helps out," he said.

Lawton said he hopes they can do it again next year.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com