Holidays with heroes: Bemidji first responders gather for Heroes and Helpers charity shopping event

  • Source: Bemidji Pioneer
  • Published: 12/04/2018 07:02 PM

In the era of the "personal shopper," 7-year-old Carlie Hlavac has the system licked. Flanked by two firefighters nearly twice her height, Hlavac meandered around Target on Tuesday, trying to decide the best way to spend her allotted budget of $100. Ben Eckstein, one of the two firefighters, kept a running tally in a notebook of the amount she'd spent so far. But Eckstein and the other firefighter, Elias Hendrickson, weren't just hanging around because of their accounting skills. They were there to consult Hlavac on all the possible things she could buy. Did she want a My Little Pony set? Perhaps. Would a Hula Hoop make the cut? Maybe not, but all three of them gave it a try, spinning the large hoops around their waists while trying not to knock other items off the shelves. Hlavac was one of 26 children who descended on the shopping center Tuesday to purchase Christmas gifts for their friends, family, or even themselves. Based on the program "Shop with a Cop," the local version, "Heroes and Helpers," pairs children with first responders for a night of festive Christmas shopping.


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