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Franklin County Jail workers buy gifts for children of fallen comrade

November 30, 1999|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. ? The three children of Stacey Reed, a corrections officer at the Franklin County Jail who was killed last month in an automobile accident, got a surprise Saturday during the jail's annual holiday dinner.

Reed, 27, was killed Nov. 11 when the car she was driving struck a house.

Instead of the jail employees exchanging names for gifts this holiday season, they decided to buy presents for Reed's three children, Aurora Moser-Reed, 11, Joe Ausherman, 6, and Liv Ausherman, 5. They are living with their grandparents, Lisa and Wallace Reed of Waynesboro, Pa.

"We decided to get gifts for Stacey's kids to try to make their Christmas better since they lost their mother," Corrections Officer Robert Fink said. "We really wanted to try to give them a little bit of happiness."

Santa Claus surprised the three children with more than 100 presents from employees of the Franklin County Jail as well as the community.

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"I think its great," Lisa Reed said. "My daughter didn't realize how well she was liked ? it's just a shock."

Lisa said the children had no idea they were getting gifts or that Santa Claus would be there.

"They just (thought) they were going there for dinner," Lisa said of the jail's holiday dinner, which was at American Legion Post 46 in Chambersburg. "With (Stacey's death) happening at the time of year it did, it's just bringing out all the goodness and kindness of the people."

"I'm thankful, I'm surprised, it's just so hard," Lisa said tearfully.

Lisa said she did not give any suggestions as to what the children would want for Christmas, except for their clothing sizes, because she knew they would be grateful for whatever they received.

"Mom was a single mom and Christmas wasn't only toys, it was clothes also," Lisa said. "Anything to them was a lot ? it didn't matter if it was clothes or toys."

However, the jail employees' generosity did not stop there.

The correctional officers at the jail also have set up a trust fund for the children's future financial needs through F&M Trust, Fink said.

The fund is set up through the correctional officers' employee benefits fund, a fund used to help officers in need, Fink said.

"The money in that fund can only be used for those children," Fink said. "We're opening it to the county."

The fund, which was started two weeks ago, contained $1,150 as of Thursday, Fink said. He was not sure if any money had been deposited from the public yet. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees of Harrisburg, which is the jail's main office, donated $1,000 to the fund, Fink said.

Additionally, $500 was donated from the correctional officers union at the Franklin County Jail and $650 was donated from other employees at the jail. The jail employs about 110 people, Fink said.

Fink said Stacey Reed's death touched everyone at the jail.

"It's like we all lost someone close to us," Fink said. "Whether you knew her real well or not, everybody came together and wanted to do something for her and her kids."

"Her kids meant everything to her," Fink said. "That's pretty much all she talked about."

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