DUNMORE — The state police Troop R Camp Cadet program has received a $415 donation from 9-year-old Taylor Mercereau of Greentown.
Instead of birthday presents this year, Taylor requested her friends and family bring donations that she would compile and deliver to state police.
Trooper Mark Keyes, director of the camp, said the donation was especially helpful as the program is free to attendees and funded in large part by kindness like Taylor's.
“The state police are incredibly honored that a 9 year old child would think of our camp and set aside birthday presents to donate to us,” Keyes said. “We're thrilled that the program is having such a positive impact on kids that they'd want to donate to us.”
Taylor's mother Jennifer Mercereau added, “I think its absolutely wonderful.”
Mercereau wished to extend her gratitude to Capt. Christopher Paris, Keyes and staff including Mary Ann Cron, Cpl. Manny Hicks, Trooper Sandy VanLuvender, Trooper Edward McCarthy, Cpl. Mark Sadowski and Lt. Brian Cawley for their kindness and support of Taylor and her donation.
Mercereau said a large part of Taylor's impetus for donating to state police was to honor her late great uncle, Joseph Welsch, a trooper killed in the line of duty Sept. 13, 1977, while responding to a domestic dispute in Montoursville.
Welsch was immortalized for his sacrifice in the form of an award that is given annually to the top cadets in the Troop F Camp Cadet Program.
Mercereau said the family has attended several of the cadet graduation ceremonies where the award has been handed out.
As such, the Camp Cadet program holds a special place significance for Taylor.
Mercereau said both her daughters have expressed a desire to attend the program, and Taylor thought it was a good idea to donate.
The camp is a weeklong overnight program for children ages 12-15 held annually at Marywood University.
The camp's aim, in part, is to allow participants to become familiar with agencies such as state and local police, fire and rescue services, the Game Commission, the Fish and Boat Commission, FBI and DEA.
It also focuses on discipline, self-esteem, teamwork, drug and alcohol education, violence prevention and other issues today’s youth encounter.
“The camp is so worth sending your child to,” Mercereau said. “There are no better role models than these men and women for kids.”
This year's camp is set to run from July 23-28. The application deadline is April 15.
More information can be found at www.trooprcampcadet.com