ORANGE, Calif. (CBS Los Angeles) — Deputies in Southern California are going beyond the call of duty to give back to the community just in time for the holidays. For one deputy in particular, the initiative is deeply personal.
There’s a room filled with Christmas presents on the second floor at the Orange County sheriff’s headquarters. Every single one of those gifts is going to the children at Orangewood Children’s Home, a shelter for children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned.
The toy drive tugs especially at the heart of deputy Josh Broadwater, who was abandoned as a baby and spent some time at that same shelter. “For me, being where a lot of these kids are — I’ve been there,” he tells CBSLA.
Broadwater, 47 years ago, was left inside the restroom at an Anaheim gas station with a note attached to a blanket that said, “Please love me.” The LA Times even published a story on the incident. “The infant was wrapped in a blanket, had a full bottle of milk, a can of formula, and a box of diapers,” the story reads.
He was taken to what is now Orangewood Children’s Home after he was found. Now, whenever the deputy gets the chance to give back, he does so in honor of where he used to be and where he is now.
“Anytime we do these toy drives, it’s just something I try to get involved in. This year I actually volunteered to be in charge of it, at least for our shift, and it was one of those things that it grew and grew and grew and grew to more than I ever could have imagined,” he says.
Deputy Broadwater took the sheriff’s annual gift collection to a new level this year, gathering an assortment of 833 gifts, including bikes, balls, dolls and other toys.
“To me, it shows the other side of what we do in law enforcement,” Broadwater says. “Everybody sees one side but they never get to see this side that we go out of our way to do things for other people and hopefully make somebody’s Christmas a little bit better.”