BETHALTO – Twenty-five people getting gas at the Bethalto Hit N Run received a Christmas surprise from the Bethalto Police Department.

Mustache March, a program sponsored by and several local business to promote local police departments, raised money to give to several law enforcement agencies to give back to their communities. Bethalto chose to give back by providing up to $20 in free gas to the first 25 customers arriving after they started at 9 a.m. This event was not announced to the public beforehand.

“We’re out here with our Explorer Program today giving people free gas,” Bethalto Deputy Police Chief Craig Welch said Saturday morning.

Four of those police explorer scouts, Destin Magnuson, Blake Hilliard, Justin Miller and Jacob McBride were on hand to assist the police department and motorists who were grateful for the offer.

“We just had our first person come in for it, and she was so surprised, she almost cried,” a young woman behind the store’s cash register said.

Mustache March will commence again next year, and the Bethalto Police Department hopes to make community outreach such as this a more common tradition because of it.