By: Tom DotyTimes Columnist
December 19, 2012
WILLIAMSON - With the recent downward spiral of the Tug Valley area economy, more local families were in need of assistance to provide Christmas presents for their children than ever before. The kind hearted, generous employees of the Williamson Memorial Hospital (WMH) stepped up to the plate, expanded their Christmas Toy Drive and teamed up with local community members and other businesses and were able to accommodate the wish lists of over 750 area youth.
According to WMH Registered Nurse April Toler-Mullins, who chaired this year’s event, the generosity of numerous individuals and businesses in the area played a big part in the successful venture.
“We can’t begin to thank everyone who either donated a toy, clothing or money for us to use to purchase presents,” stated Mullins. “And as always, my fellow employees here at Williamson Memorial came through for us and went above and beyond to assure all of the children’s names that we were given from Mingo County schools and Head Start programs that were in need were provided for.”
Mullins issued a special thank you to the HealthNet Aeromedical Services for joined them in their mission to collect toys and donations, and stated that Paul Conley, a Paramedic with the company was instrumental in getting his employers to get on board.
“Paul is a wonderful person whose heart is definitely in the right spot,” commented Mullins. “The children absolutely loved seeing Mr. and Mrs. Claus fly in on the helicopter and the HealthNet employees gathered over $200 worth of toys for Mingo County children in need. We’re planning to make this an annual event and we’re so excited to know that HealthNet Aeromedical Services will be by our side.”
Mullins and several volunteers delivered the presents to the elementary schools, the Tug Valley Recovery Shelter, the WV Dept. of Health and Human Resources (for children in foster care) and Mingo County Head Start facilities, and said she knows that the children will be overjoyed with what they received.
“Some of the letters we got from these children would break your heart,” stated Mullins. “One asked for long sleeved shirts while another asked for a pretty dress to wear to church. They were asking for thing they needed, putting their wants for toys aside. We made sure they got the clothing they asked for, along with something to play with.”
“It’s all about seeing the excitement and big smiles on their faces,” said Mullins. “That makes it all worthwhile. Christmas is all about the little ones and knowing that we played a part in making their wishes come true is all the thanks we will ever need.”
“I encourage everyone that can, to help those in need. Whether it is a family member, a neighbor or an acquaintance of your own children, there’s a child out there that may have a brighter and happier Christmas if we all do our part to help.”