Two U-Haul employees recently caught wind that the Latrobe Police Department was distributing gift cards to local families during the week of Christmas and wanted to join in the giving spirit.

U-Haul donated $2,500 worth of gift cards redeemable at Giant Eagle, following Latrobe chiropractor Dr. Anita Bigo’s initial donation which enabled officers to hand out 50 Shop ‘n Save gift cards each worth $50.

After hearing news of Latrobe officers giving motorists gift cards instead of traffic tickets, U-Haul Marketing Company President Ean Livingood approached Mike Caddy, general manager of the new U-Haul facility at Mount Laurel Plaza in Unity Township, with the idea.

“He noted that his uncle was one of the people pulled over, and a recipient of this kind act,” Livingood said. “Mike and I decided we wanted to participate.”

They purchased 50 gift cards each worth $50 for Giant Eagle, and donated them last week to Chief Sleasman to share with the community.

“It was a great feeling,” Livingood added.

For the second batch of donated gift cards, Sleasman said officers concentrated on giving them to frontline workers and first responders, and “a few of the workers at the local convenience stores, gas stations, stuff like that,” in addition to handing them out during minor traffic stops.

“It’s very heartwarming to be able to help those in need,” Sleasman said. “We would not be able to do it without the generosity of people like Dr. Bigo and U-Haul.”

Latrobe Mayor Rosie Wolford during Monday’s city council meeting also gave a nod to donors Dr. Bigo and U-Haul for their contributions to the community.

“It’s just Latrobe. We help the people who need it,” she said.

Latrobe officials hope to continue these acts of kindness next holiday season, as well, making it an annual project for the police department.

“Officers have gotten a great thrill to be able to do this. It really means a lot to them, too,” Sleasman said.

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