GLENVILLE Schenectady County Sheriff Dominick Dagostino was more like the jolly man in red than one of the boys in blue as he handed out gifts to local families in need this season.
Santa Claus visited some children early this year on Wednesday, Dec. 19, as presents were piled up around a Christmas tree inside a room filled with holiday spirit at the Glenville YMCA.
Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office employees, along with community members, donated money to purchase about 500 gifts for children in needy families who might otherwise not have had much under the tree. The annual holiday fundraising drive was started by former Sheriff Harry Buffardi, who is now Rotterdam town supervisor, and continues as a cheerful tradition to reach out and help local families.
Dagostino might have to be tough while on duty, but he was emotional as he thanked his staff and expressed his joy at being able to help families.
“I can’t tell you that this is me,” Dagostino said. “This is the people that work for me and they do a tremendous job. It is so very refreshing to have people like that, that still care for their community and are willing to go out and do these types of things.”
The Glenville YMCA identified three families in need for the department to donate gifts to, and provided a list of items. In addition to helping out children, parents are also given some presents.
Melissa Anderson, of Scotia, has a 12-year-old and twin 10-year-old daughters who received donated gifts. Anderson said finding out she was receiving gifts brought her “overwhelming joy.” Her children have been going to YMCA programs for years, but she recently moved from Clifton Park to Scotia.
“It really touches me that they put so much effort into it and that it so amazing,” Anderson said. “I can’t put in words how much this really means that they would help my family.”