- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

CHESTER, S.C. (AP) - Alex Collins was crushed. His dreams, broken.

“I hope you pick me to go,” the 9-year-old son of a single mother in Chester County wrote in a heartbreaking letter to the Chester County sheriff. Alex wanted more than anything to go hunting with the sheriff.

“I don’t have anyone to teach me,” he wrote. “It’s just me and my mom, and she’s too sick to do stuff.”

Problem was, Alex lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania, - some 600 miles northeast of where Sheriff Alex Underwood had offered to take local kids hunting and fishing near his home in Chester County, South Carolina.

In spite of the mix-up, big-hearted cops in both states are making Alex’s dream come true.

Alex, who has never been on an airplane, will hunt and fish with Underwood after Christmas - and cops are paying for the whole trip.

When Alex and his mom saw Underwood’s post on Facebook, asking kids to write to him if they wanted to go fishing or hunting, Alex immediately wrote a letter to the sheriff.

His letter - along with one each from mom Leslie Collins and Alex’s teacher, testifying to what a great kid Alex is - was hand-delivered to the Chester County Sheriff’s Office in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

“But nobody ever heard of Sheriff Underwood when I went to the police station,” Alex said.

Deputies who work for Chester County, Pennsylvania, Sheriff Carolyn. B. Welsh had no clue what Alex and his mom were there about, but they took the time to search online and saw that the Chester County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina was readying to host kids for hunting and fishing.

“Alex was heartbroken,” Leslie Collins said. “He left crying.”

But Chief Deputy George March did not send a crying kid and his sick mother home. March contacted Underwood’s office in South Carolina and asked if there was any way that they could work Alex in.

Turns out that Sheriff Underwood and Sheriff Welsh had met at a recent conference. Underwood and his staff worked out the details with their fellow cops in Pennsylvania, so Alex will be able to hunt and fish with the sheriff.

March put Alex’s plane ticket on his personal credit card, and other Pennsylvania deputies are helping cover the cost.

“Something like this, you can’t worry about who pays,” March said. “You just want to make a little boy happy.”

Deputies here in South Carolina are now preparing to roll out the red carpet after picking up Alex at the Charlotte airport.

As for Alex Collins - soon to be known as “Little A” to Underwood’s “Big A” - he gets to ride on a plane, then go hunting with a new friend.

Little A was asked what he wanted for Christmas.

“I’m getting it,” he said. “I’m going hunting with Big A - the sheriff.”


Information from: The Herald, https://www.heraldonline.com

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