A special gift: Former Craig mother hopes to collect police patches for unique Christmas gift for daughter
At the age of 5 years old, Tabitha Inness became fascinated by police officers. That fascination started at a church in Merritt Island, Florida, where Inness and her mother, Samantha, lived at the time after moving away from the Craig area a few years before.
At that church in Brevard County, a police officer at the church nominated Tabitha for a chance to join in the holiday program Shop with a Cop.
“The moment she did that (Shop with a Cop), she had this fascination with police officers,” Samantha Inness said. “Since that day, any police officer she meets, she’ll run up to them and give them a hug and thank them. Her goal is to one day join a police department and live out her dream of being a police officer.”
Born in Craig on March, 5, 2007, Inness, now 12, was raised in Northwest Colorado for the first year of her life with her mother and father, Seth Inness, before moving away in 2008. However, Tabitha and Samantha moved back to the Craig area in 2016 to be closer to family again, but medical issues and the amount of travel to Children’s Hospital in Denver forced mother and daughter to move to Longmont, where they currently reside. Tabitha’s father and grandparents still live in Craig.
Tabitha, who is autistic and suffers from eosinophilic disease — which is a very complicated disease that depletes the body of iron and essential nutrients necessary for proper development and physical growth — doesn’t let the disease slow her down. Every year for Halloween she’s a police officer and she tries to learn as much as she can about the field. In fact, Tabitha is set to join the Police Explorers program once she reaches eighth-grade in two years.
That fascination with police officers led to the idea for a special Christmas gift this year from Samantha to Tabitha. Instead of toys, movies and books, Samantha wants to put together a scrapbook of police patches from around the country that her daughter can keep forever and look back on with pride.
The project started in April, but Samantha recently came down with some medical issues herself, which has left her wheelchair-bound. So far, more than 20 patches have been sent to Samantha for Tabitha’s present, with one coming from Brevard County, one from New York, and roughly 18 coming from the state of Colorado.
“This little girl is just so special to me, so I really want to be able to put this together for her,” Samantha said. “What I really hope to get is a patch from the Craig Police Department. That would make the entire present for her because Craig holds such a special place in our hearts.
“She’s really stepped up for me during this time with all I’m going through myself medically. She’s not once complained and she’s given up a lot to help me, so I really want to be able to give this scrapbook to her.”
A few years ago after moving to Longmont, Samantha realized just how much Tabitha was fascinated with police officers and how much she knew about the field.
“When kids weren’t coming to her birthday parties, the Longmont Police Department heard about it and a bunch of officers showed up,” Samantha said. “She lit up with a smile and when the officers started quizzing her about equipment, terminology and things like that, she knew the answer to every question. I was blown away; that’s when I knew she was really intrigued by this field.”
Samantha says there’s not a set number of patches that she hopes to collect, but she’s hoping to complete the project before Christmas to ensure a happy holiday.
For those interested in sending the Inness family a patch or two for the scrapbook, they can be sent to the following address:
11830 N. 75th St. Apt. No. 478
Hygiene, CO 80533