Deputy rallies community in Operation ThankFULL

Local News

A local deputy with a simple mission found a bigger calling when she went to help others in need.

Bay County Sheriff’s Deputy Casey Milton had one important assignment, find 12 families in the Southport area so she could deliver holiday baskets of food. But when she went to Southport Elementary she discovered that she would have to pick and choose out of dozens of families who were having trouble.

“They were already in hard times and Hurricane Michael didn’t make anything any better,” Melton said.

It was a choice she did not want to make.

“Me being a mom myself I couldn’t pick between my children which one could eat and which one couldn’t and so I just feed them all,” Melton said.

She began by going to local business owners, grocery stores and others hoping that they would want to help. She found a willing community who gave more than she could have imagined.

Now, all she had to do was tell her boss about what she had started.

“I thought I was gonna be in trouble cause I kind of jump-started the whole project without permission,” Melson said. “But when I went to them they were like, ‘Absolutely. You just do you.’ And just, I can’t even sit here and describe how much support the Sheriff and the Chief have backed me on this. They want to see happy people just like I do.”

The project made her cry every day but also filled her spirit with good memories.

“I think it was my nana that told me is a full belly is a happy heart,” Melton said. “And that kind of sticks with me and I know it’s kind of silly and its the truth.”

On Friday, Melton delivered 50 baskets to waiting families. The baskets come with either a turkey or a ham and all the trimmings. By Thanksgiving day Melton plans to deliver 100 baskets feeding about 400 people in our area.

“They love it and they’re so happy and they’re thankful and I get loved on and that makes me happy,” Melton said.

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