For the past four years, needy St. Bernard Parish families have been shown true holiday spirit thanks to a program run by the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office called Caring Officers Provide Smiles for Christmas, or COPS for Christmas.

Officers from the communications and corrections divisions formed the group several years ago. Each year, officers donate money and solicit contributions to provide at least one needy family with Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas presents, a tree and Christmas dinner.

“Participation is growing every year,’’ said Col. David Mowers, head of the corrections division. “Now we are getting participation from people in the patrol division and others.”

This year, two Chalmette families were selected based on referrals from a school and a day care center.

Katie Boehm, of Chalmette, a single mother with three children, works full-time while going to paramedic training classes at night. Soon Boehm will have to attend school full-time to complete the course, which will greatly affect her financial situation.

“It will help us a lot,’’ Boehm said, to get help for Thanksgiving and Christmas. “I appreciate it.’’

Angelina Jarreau, of Chalmette, and her family also will benefit from this year’s efforts.

Mowers said the program gives people a good feeling to be able to help others and it also lets them see directly who is being helped.

AARP Pakenham Chapter 3926 recently made a $300 donation to the COPS for Christmas program.

Donations for the program can be made at the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office’s 911 Call Center, 8001 W. St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette.

Sheriff’s Office graduates

Nine St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies graduated Nov. 21 from the Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy in Slidell and several received awards for class achievements.

Graduates included Andy Mowers, Scott Winters and Matthew Spencer, of the corrections division; Heather Lyons and Shane Samaniego, of the communications division; Jeremy Roig, of the criminal records division; and Shelton Smith, Merlin Flores and Corey Gonzales, of the reserve division. Roig, Winters, Samaniego, Gonzales, Smith and Spencer were recognized for class achievements.

The academy includes about 400 hours of training in basic police work, including firearms use, criminal investigation, patrol procedures, writing reports, driving training, physical fitness and other areas.

Twelve deputies recently completed a 90-hour corrections division course in Peace Officers Standards and Training dealing with working in a prison environment or juvenile detention center.

The graduates are Christopher Manno, Thomas Murana, Blake Kelly, Robert Maloz, Keri Krenkel, Matthew Schmill, Rosalyn Cantrell, Richard Chauppetta III, Lowell Horne Jr., Kyle Brown, Alan Clomburg Jr. and Jeremy Lobre.

POST corrections covers training in defensive tactics, use of pepper spray, booking procedures and writing reports.

Battle of New Orleans volunteers needed

Organizers of the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans set for Jan. 7-10 at Chalmette Battlefield, 8606 W. St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette, are looking for volunteers for the event.

Positions include information desk and visitor center sales assistants, bus stop and boat dock greeters, cleanup crew members, and demonstrator assistants.

For information, contact Aleutia Scott at (504) 689-3690, ext. 10, or http://www.animalrescueneworleans.orgmailto:aleutia_scott%40nps.gov?subject=Battle%20of%20New%20Orleans%20bicentennial%20volunteers">aleutia_scott@nps.gov.

Battle bicentennial artwork

The St. Bernard Tourist Commission recently unveiled its official artwork for the celebration of the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans set for Jan. 7-10. The piece, created by artist Terrance Osborne, beautifully depicts the Reconnaissance-in-Force Battle of Dec. 28, 1814, which took place in what is now known as Chalmette.

This battle significantly decimated the British troops, which led to the final victory by Andrew Jackson and his forces at the Battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8, 1815. The view of the battle in the artwork is from the deck of the SS Louisiana, which was anchored in the Mississippi River. In the distance, the battle between U.S. forces and the British army is raging. The painting highlights Osborne’s creative ability to use vibrant colors and still maintain historical accuracy.

Prints are being sold by the Tourist Commission and can be purchased by calling the Visitor Center at (504) 278-4242. There are 500 prints available in the following categories: remarqued, $325; signed and numbered, $150; and unsigned and numbered, $75.

Art show

The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans will hold an art show for its Brushes, Buddies and Beyond art program from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, at Covenant United Methodist Church, 115 E. D’Amour St., Chalmette.

There will be a silent auction of participants’ artwork, live entertainment and refreshments.

Tickets are $10 in advance and are available by calling (504) 464-5733. Tickets at the door will be $15.

The art program is open to individuals 10 and older who are on the autism spectrum. Through the program, participants learn how to paint in a fun and relaxed environment and receive step-by-step instructions from master artist Jeff Duke.

For information, send email to donnica@asgno.org or call (504) 464-5733.

Hall of Fame nominations

The St. Bernard Sports Hall of Fame is accepting nominations for inductees and awards for its 20th annual Hall of Fame ceremony set for March 7.

Applications are available at stbhof.com. Submissions can be mailed to the St. Bernard Sports Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 1602, Chalmette, LA 70044 or emailed to Eddie Appel at edwardappel@gulfbank.com.

The 20th annual Hall of Fame induction and award ceremony will be held at the new St. Bernard Sports Hall of Fame Center at Val Riess Park in Chalmette. New Orleans Saints legend and sports radio personality Bobby Hebert will speak. Tickets are $40 per person. Tables of 10 can be reserved.

For information, call Roy Cortes, president, at (985) 246-8354; Bryan Frichter, vice president, at (504) 554-2685; or Eddie Appel, treasurer, at (504) 301-6135.

Holiday free ride home program

The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office’s free Holiday Ride Home runs through Jan. 2. The program allows residents who have too much to drink during the holiday season the opportunity to call the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 to receive a free ride home from a deputy, no questions asked.

A sheriff’s deputy will pick you up and take you to your home in St. Bernard or, if you live out of the parish, you can be taken to a sheriff’s substation where you can make arrangements to be picked up.

Kim Gritter writes about people, places and events in St. Bernard Parish. She can be reached at parishlines@gmail.com.