Our annual 911 Gives Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive is coming up December 2nd through 4th, and our friends at 911 Gives Hope have come up with a unique and hilarious way for you to help us fill the 53-foot trailer full of toys for kids spending the holidays in Tri-State hospitals.

911 Gives Hope Selling "Crying Phil" Christmas Ornaments

Evansville Police Department Assistant Chief Phil Smith is one of the nicest and most charismatic people you'll ever meet. Everyone gravitates toward him the minute he walks into a room and he'll take the time to at least say hello to all of them. Part of his charm is that he doesn't take himself too seriously and will go along with a joke, even if it's at his expense. For example, the long-running, and now infamous, "Crying Phil."

The Story Behind "Crying Phil"

Phil Smith via Facebook
Phil Smith via Facebook

Two years ago, in November 2020, Phil was recognized by the office of then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr as one of the top police officers in the country and received the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in Policing. During the ceremony, Phil stepped up to the podium to give an acceptance speech. In the middle of that speech, he became emotional as he thanked his parents, who were in attendance, and the tears began to flow. The moment was captured in both pictures and video, and just like that, Crying Phil Smith was born.

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Since then, Crying Phil has been turned into a meme on social media and has been put on stickers, cups, coasters, lapel pins, and even socks.

Shannon Booker, 911 Gives Hope Secretary and graphic designer extraordinaire who creates all the graphics for the Guns & Hoses program as well as the video monitors at the Ford Center during the event itself, even began hiding Crying Phil on the cover of said program.

Shannon Booker / 911 Gives Hope
Shannon Booker / 911 Gives Hope

How to Get Your Own Crying Phil Ornament

Now you can have your very own Crying Phil help you celebrate the holiday season with a new ornament created by Shannon that is available to purchase through the 911 Gives Hope store on Etsy.

The ornaments are $20 each with all the proceeds going directly to 911 Gives Hope which will use some of the funds to purchase toys during this weekend's toy drive while the rest will be distributed to local children's charities through the organization's grant program.

The ornaments will also be available to purchase at the east side Walmart during the toy drive itself.

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