Good News: Bridging the Gap

Georgia hot tub dealer helps police officers connect with community children

Pride Pools, Spas & Leisure Products, with showrooms in Savannah and Claxton, Georgia, is heavily involved in the communities surrounding its two locations, supporting more than 20 charities. Owned by three siblings — Alex Smith, Sherry Buckman and Marshall Smith, who purchased the business in 1999 from their retiring father and company founder, Gary Smith — it’s important to the Pride Pools staff to give back to the community, says Joe Driggers, marketing and public relations director. “Pride Pools and its staff members realize that profits do not precede people.”

(left to right) Chief Gilbert Ballard (Garden City Police Department), APO Barbara O’Neal (Garden City Police Department), Sherry Buckman (co-owner, Pride Pools Spas & Leisure Products) and Alex Smith (co-owner, Pride Pools Spas & Leisure Products)

Most recently, Pride Pools became the corporate sponsor for the Garden City Police Department’s community initiative Cops at Bus Stops, which provides drinks and snacks to children at bus stops around the community, giving them the opportunity to interact with police officers in a positive setting.

“We wanted a way to ensure our community involvement and outreach as it relates to these kids,” says Chief Gilbert Ballard of the Garden City Police Department. “In many cases, the only time they may otherwise see the law enforcement community is when we’re unfortunately riding a call or doing traffic enforcement. We want to create those opportunities when we’re not engaged in police activities and opening ourselves up to the community.”

Pride Pool Spas & Leisure Products participates in Cops at Bus Stops event

“Children are almost always present when police officers perform their duties,” Driggers says. “And they can make police officers’ work easier depending on the level of trust. Positive community attitudes toward police officers and cooperation with investigations can significantly affect the way police officers are perceived. How police officers interact with children and act on their behalf is critical, since they also grow up to be the adults of the communities that officers are sworn to serve.”

Pride Pools is providing the snacks and drinks moving forward as the corporate sponsor of the Cops at Bus Stops program. Pride Pools will also remain involved throughout the summer, providing ice cream as the Garden City Police Department visits apartment complexes and neighborhoods throughout the community.

“The Cops at Bus Stops program is limited by the amount of help we have and the products to give these kids because we don’t have a specific fund,” Ballard says. “The kids just love it. It’s one of those things we can’t tell Pride Pools thank you enough. We need these partnerships and you simply can’t put a price on that. They’re helping us bridge the gap.”

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