Thursday, December 17, 2009
Clydesdale treats Guard families
By SUE WATSON
For the second year in a row, the Holly Springs/Hernando National Guard families were treated to a Christmas dinner, fun and gifts by lots of volunteer efforts and donations from corporate sponsors and everyday folks.
Last Christmas the Guardsmen were at the celebration. This year only a couple were in attendance because they have been deployed since spring to Iraq.
The big event for the children, wives, mothers and fathers of the Guardsmen was a project of the Clydesdale Christmas Store and hosted by the Collins-Hurdle VFW Post 5697. A year seems to have done a lot for the children who seemed more in acceptance that their fathers were away. They enjoyed face paintings, balloons, and a magic show and dinner before sitting on Santa’s knee.
The event meant lots to the families.
Lori Young, a service mom from Hernando, said, “It is wonderful the way this community is coming together supporting these families. The food is just fantastic. The magician was good. Santa’s the real deal.”
Lorence Strange, one Guardsman not deployed at the moment, appreciated the family support.
“Especially, thank you to the Luthers who have really helped our unit throughout the years,” Strange said.
Guard wife Elizabeth Hamblin, from Tupelo, enjoyed the meal and the excitement of the party and anticipated a call from her husband deployed in Iraq.
“Thank you,” she said. “It is a great support and we need more people like these.”
Jenny Winters, of Batesville, was just thankful.
“It was very good,” she said.
Angela Dees, another mom, said, “When the kids are missing their dad, it’s something to help them get through it. We appreciate all y’all’s help.”
James Lunsford with A&B Distributing, one of the corporate sponsors, was appreciative of the volunteer help.
“I think the volunteers are always thanking the sponsors for making this happen,” he said, “but nothing happens without the volunteers.”
Sonia Hill of Southaven said, “I really appreciate everything that was done for us and the other families.”
And Liz Brown of Hernando added, “I just think what they are doing is really awesome and great. They put together a great day for us to enjoy with our military families.”
Besides the many volunteers with the Clydesdale Christmas Store who do the shopping for specific gifts requested by the children, a lot of help was provided free this year, as usual, according to Ronnie Luther.
Roger Mitchell and Richard Novarese cooked the chicken and dressing, vegetables, ham and the trimmings. The VFW Ladies Auxillary provided the desserts.
The Clydesdale Christmas Store ladies did the shopping, the hardest part, Luther said.
The VFW helped set up the room, provided the space and helped with anything needed.
The DeSoto County Board of Supervisors donated the money to pay for the meal.
Tamara Hilmer and Jody James of First Baptist Church performed Christmas carols.
Robert Day, a Jackson-based magician, entertained the families for free. A Mississippian by birth, Day began his magic tricks for birthday parties at age 11. Today, at age 51, he lives in Jackson and works magic at corporate events and trade shows. Magic Mr. Nick of Memphis provided entertainment with balloon art. Visit his website by the same name to learn more, www.magicmrnick.com.
Pastor Kristopher Morris with Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Holly Springs, offered prayer, saying agreeing to serve at the event was “the easiest decision I’ve ever made.”
“They (the military men and women) deserve nothing but our honor and praise and utmost respect,” he said. “The best thing we can give them is to bow our heads in prayer for them.”
Ronnie Luther added that the men with the Armory in Holly Springs when they are home have always helped put on the Clydesdale Christmas Store for children at the Armory.
“It is a way to show our appreciation for what they do because all y’all are our heros,” he said of the families and the troops.
U.S. Congressman Travis Childers and Bill Minor, commissioner of transportation for the Northern District, were in attendance.
Childers said his schedule was “not too tight to be here for the soldiers.”
“It’s a great privilege to be here,” he said.
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