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By request: Soap Lake officer spreads holiday cheer one song at a time

by Rebecca Pettingill
Staff Writer | December 8, 2021 1:00 AM

SOAP LAKE — Soap Lake Police Officer Justin Rowland is raising money for a good cause and spreading holiday cheer with what he calls “singing-grams.” For a small fee, he’ll go to the person of your choice and serenade them with a holiday song.

For the fourth time in the last five years, due to COVID-19 restrictions last year, Rowland is going around the Columbia Basin selling singing-grams to raise money for the Soap Lake Police Benevolent Fund. That fund pays for Soap Lake’s Shop With A Cop event, where a handful of local kids each year get the chance to go Christmas shopping with Soap Lake police officers.

Rowland said he started the singing-grams because musical theater is his passion (he has been involved with the Soap Lake Masquers Theater in the past), so he wanted to incorporate that into a way to raise money for the benevolent fund.

Rowland said he’s had singing-gram requests from as far as Texas. He takes his requests through his personal Facebook page, or by email at justinr@soaplakewa.gov. Each singing-gram is $20 and he is willing to travel within a reasonable distance.

For his singing-grams, Rowland needs to know what Christmas song to sing, what day it should be delivered, whom it’s for and whether the requester would like to be identified.

This year Rowland began delivering his singing-grams the day after Thanksgiving. A couple of the musical missives have already been delivered to members of the Ephrata Police Department and Grant County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO).

GCSO is a returning customer of Rowland’s. Rowland said a couple of years ago, someone ordered a rendition of “Santa Baby” for Undersheriff Ryan Rechtenwald, which Rowland delivered at the sheriff’s office.

“Yeah, it was awkward for everyone in the room,” he said.

Rowland says the most important part of the singing grams and Shop With A Cop event is love.

“I’m a big kid at heart; I’m 42 and I’m still a 6-year-old. One of my favorite movies is Jim Henson’s ‘Muppet Christmas Carol,’ and there’s a song, the lyric goes ‘Wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas,’ and so whether someone has a religious background and they have that kind of Christmas, or if Christmas is a time of family, or however they celebrate it, I feel like that’s the whole purpose, is love.”

Rowland will be offering singing-grams all the way up until the day of Soap Lake’s Shop With A Cop, which is Dec. 23.

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