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Walmart regional Manager Angela Wilson thought of a useful way to thank officers for their work by having the stores donate ice chests and a full pallet of bottled water for their Hydrate Blue program.

It’s a gesture that was appreciated by local law officers as the thermometer has crept past the 100 degree mark for several days in a row now.

Locally, Selma’s Walmart Manager Karen Foster said she hopes the gesture continues to foster the working relationship their store has with the SPD.

Foster said similar donations were being made in Walmarts from northern California to southern Bakersfield in their store’s region #56.

“A lot of times they don’t have the ability to have an ice chest with them in their cars. The water is for the officers but can also be shared as needed,” Foster said.

She’s worked at the Selma store for the past 27 years since it’s opened and said as a business person, she said she appreciates the officers’ role in keeping the community safe.

“They have always been a partner to the store here all the years I’ve been here.”

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Along with the ice chests and water, Walmart also awarded the SPD a $2,000 Walmart Foundation grant. A ceremonial check was given to Selma Police Officer Association President Andrew Guzman.

A brief ceremony was held on the sidewalk in front of the store that day where local Selma District Chamber of Commerce and Selma City officials braved the heat of the afternoon to support the officers.

“We just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to the Police Department for what you do for us and the community. We totally appreciate you,” Foster said.

Guzman said the gesture is greatly appreciated.

“This is absolutely awesome. We appreciate you guys more than you know. The community benefits from these types of relationships, so thank you guys.”

Guzman added that having working relationships with local businesses pays off in building trust between the officers and store employees.

“We’re all working towards a common goal which is safety and appreciation. At some point our paths cross. One of the messages our association tries to instill in the young officers, the new guys, is community outreach. That can be anything from donating, to showing up at an event and just talking with people. That goes a long way. This gesture is just invaluable.”

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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