12/17/11 — Thank you: You should have been there. It was true Christmas spirit.

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Thank you: You should have been there. It was true Christmas spirit.

It is easy to get cynical these days. After all, there are so many people who simply have no concept of honesty, fairness and responsibility.

So, in a year when so many of us are wondering how to stabilize our own budgets, you would think that it would be tough to convince Wayne County residents to give to a charity that provides gifts to strangers they have not met and could not check out for themselves.

Not so.

Just send out the word that there are children who need help, and this county is ready once again to open its wallets to share with others.

That is why we love so much being a part of this community and why, once again, we have had another successful year with the Empty Stocking Fund.

Saturday morning was filled with wide-eyed children who politely took the time to thank the volunteers who worked the toy and clothing lines -- and who hugged a doll, squealed at receiving a simple ball or exclaimed at finding the much-wished-for toy truck or art kit.

Many of them made sure little brothers and sisters got a chance to choose their gifts first, while others insisted on helping their mother or grandmother carry the boxes.

There were moments that wrenched our hearts -- when autistic or handicapped children came through the line -- and left, all smiles. Or when eager youngsters took the time to offer a Christmas hug and a cheery "Merry Christmas" even as the pile of toys caught their eye.

There were some older children who hung back, making sure the "little kids" got gifts. But don't worry, we made sure they got their turn at the present pile.

All of our young visitors were polite, cute and grateful -- and that made all the hard work worth it.

Once again we find ourselves in the unique position of being able to thank a community that has been there for the needy children of Wayne County for decades.

Many of you are continuing the traditions of your parents and sharing your good fortune with those who have not been so lucky. We are touched most by the dedications to parents who are no longer with us. Those heartfelt memorials show that these mothers and fathers taught important lessons to their children that have lasted a lifetime.

We are not quite finished paying the bills yet, so there is still time to share in this holiday tradition. Give a gift of a special donation -- a memorial or a tribute -- for a Christmas present this year.

And to all those who gave, are giving and who volunteered with us this weekend -- thank you, once again, for renewing our Christmas spirit and proving just how much a community can do when we all join hands and work together.

Merry Christmas.

Published in Editorials on December 17, 2011 11:49 PM