BIG RAPIDS\u00a0- Nearly 40 children were able to increase their holiday cheer during the annual Shop with a Hero event, which took place at Meijer in Big Rapids this month. The event allows Osceola County children to shop for their family with members of local police and emergency medical services departments. "I think the program is important because it helps to strengthen the bond between local emergency responders and children and their families in the communities we serve," said Michigan State Police Sgt. Kim Vetter. "Kids often see emergency responders when something traumatic or scary is happening in their family. This give an opportunity to rebuild trust with them and also helps the families with a helping hand at Christmas." In addition to Michigan State Police, members of the Osceola County Sheriff's Department and Evart Police Department participated in helping the children browse through the store aisles. Vetter said the experience is not only positive for the children, but also the officers who take part in Shop with a Hero. "It helps us recover from the traumatic incidents we witness and allows us to do something positive to help our community members," she added. "We often see citizens in terrible situations, and this is just a positive experience all the way around."