Tony April

AST Captain Tony April sorts 20 winter jackets for Butte Elementary School students.

WASILLA — Alaska State Trooper Captain Tony April and tooper Kamua Leigh recently teamed up with the Wasilla Walmart to donate 20 winter coats to Butte Elementary School students.

“It’s been a cold January with weeks of subzero temperatures,” April said. “With help from Walmart, we were happy to donate warm coats to students who needed them.”

April said AST partnered with Walmart to identify different community projects across Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage.

“This is something that’s more of that community engagement, community outreach that I believe in,” April said.

April said that he chose Butte Elementary as one of their first projects because AST recently evacuated squatters from the infamous “compound” property known across the Butte community for its ties to local addicts their subsequent criminal activity.

He said that he wanted to bring Troopers back to the community in a different, more uplifting circumstance.

April and Leigh toured Butte Elementary when they dropped off the coats Tuesday, January 28. He said they greeted students with “high-fives” and discussed safety issues during their time there, handing out Safety Bear activity books and pencils.

“The kids loved them,” April said. “I like to thank Butte Principal Rockey and his staff for allowing us to spend time with the kids.”

April said one of their main goals was to facilitate a positive interaction with law enforcement with the students.

April said that AST plans to engage in more community projects in the future with Walmart as their partner. They intend to donate more winter coats to other schools in the district and they also plan to support local senior centers.

“We’re just going to do everything we can in a way to show the community we’re here to serve, and not just in a law enforcement capacity,” April said.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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