BETSY LAYNE – Over 650 children in Floyd County received a new pair of school shoes thanks to one little boy’s compassion for a classmate. The third annual Operation School Shoes was held at the Betsy Layne Dome on Saturday.
“Our son who is 12 now was nine years old at the time, came home and told me his buddy at school had floppy shoes,” said Christine Layne. “The sole of the shoe came loose and when he walked it would come apart. It really bothered our son, who looked at me and said, ‘mom everybody deserves a pair of new school shoes to wear.’”
Layne thought about what her son said and knew he was right, everyone does deserve a new pair of shoes for the start of school. With the help of her church, Betsy Layne Freewill Baptist, and community leaders, Operations School Shoes launched.
This year, the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, along with Floyd County Judge-Executive, Ben Hale, donated $12,400 to Operation School Shoes. Money was raised during a golf scramble at Stumbo Park in Allen.
“It really is a blessing to be able to be a part of this amazing act of generosity,” said Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt. “We like to support the community of Floyd County, it is where we live and work. Keeping the money local and supporting an effort that helps so many children was important. It was obvious on where to donate the money and we decided Operation School Shoes was the charity we wanted to support.”
Layne – with the help of her husband, Kentucky State Trooper Brian Layne – organize, shop, buy and fit the shoes on the feet of Floyd County students.
“I was called out on a call one night and two children were at the residence,” said Brian Layne. “One of the children said they knew me. I didn’t think much of it until she told me her and her brother had gotten new school shoes from me. The boy still had the shoes and ran into his room to get them to show. The thing that touched me the most was then his sister said that I had told them I loved them.”
Operation School Shoes 2016 was a major success, according to Christine Layne. In addition to giving out over 650 pair of new school shoes, socks and school supplies were also given away. Children were able to watch demonstrations of balloon art, have their faces painted and enjoy a photo booth.
Planning is already underway for Operation School Shoes 2017.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.