Special family given shopping spree to Willow Grove Mall

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (WPVI) -- It was an act of giving for a group of kids who've suffered the worst kind of taking when their police officer dad died this summer.

It came courtesy fellow officers who sought to keep the kids' smiles and their father's memory alive.

Amid the post-holiday bustle, the three Rickards children hit the Willow Grove Park Mall on a mission.

We found 11 and 12-year-old Abigail and Emily at the jewelry counter.

And big brother Gavin leaving the video game store bag in hand.
The police officers greeting the family at the entrance.

The only way you'd know these are the children of Abington Township Police K9 Officer Bryan Rickards who died from ALS in August.
"So many people I don't know have done so much for my kids and myself. I don't know how I would have gotten through it without them," said Cindy, Officer Rickard's widow.

A nonprofit called LEO Only is sponsoring the shopping spree, with 900 dollars raised mainly through donations from law enforcement officers around the world.

This is not a one-time thing. The organization has provided shopping sprees like this to 165 children across the country this year alone.

Lin Polen from LEO Only said, "Our main objective is to provide Christmas to children of slain and injured police officers. We've also done college scholarships, we've also done therapy dogs."

Bryan was a great guy.

Sergeant Shawn Williams, a colleague, and friend of Officer Rickards says this shopping spree is just the latest example of how the community has rallied around this grieving family.

"It's been constant all year, since the summer, even prior to that we've had numerous fundraisers for them," said Sgt. Williams.

"It's nice to know that they can see that people appreciated their dad and that he made a difference, and that people are thinking of them at this time that's difficult for them," added Cindy.

For this family that has lost so much, perhaps their greatest gift is knowing people care.
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