I grew up in a family of eleven children and learned at an early age about not having an abundance of material possessions. While I was surrounded by love as a child, I still had difficulty at Christmas understanding why I couldn't have all the gifts I wanted. And, looking back now, I know the adults who loved me regretted that they were not able to give me all I wanted for Christmas.
I remember that I never really thought much about being poor until Christmas came, and I saw all the toys my friends got for Christmas. In my family, when we got gifts for Christmas, they often were gifts of clothing or things we needed. When we received toys, they were meant to be shared with the other children in my family.
After I became an adult, I learned how hard it is to be a parent and not have the money to give my own children what they wanted for Christmas. I will never forget the year that I was not working because my job had been eliminated. I was humiliated that I did not have a job, and I was stressed that I did not have the money to provide my two sons with a nice Christmas.
That year one of my son's teachers found out about our situation and surprised us by bringing gifts for the entire family. Then, a member of our church bought groceries for a fabulous Christmas dinner. I was so grateful for these angels and will never forget what they did for us.
These experiences from my life are why I feel so strongly about trying to help make the holiday season happy and memorable for every child, teenager and adult, especially those who are experiencing hard times. This year, I decided our office should sponsor a free holiday celebration for the entire community. The celebration will be on Saturday, December 15, and will be right in the Waynedale neighborhood at the Roller Dome South.
The event is called "Roll Out The Year" and will begin at 5:30 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m. We plan to have a huge crowd and a really great time. We will be giving away lots of awesome prizes, including at least 20 bicycles. We will have gifts and prizes for both children and adults.
There will be music provided by choirs and musical groups. We will have loads of games to entertain everyone. There will free skating all evening, and best of all, free food. We are really excited to have live radio broadcasts at the celebration from "Big Kess" on Wild 96.3, a station located in Waynedale on Lower Huntington Road.
This event is open to everyone and everything is free. So, I hope many of you in Waynedale will join us next Saturday, December 15, at the Roller Dome South, 4540 Bluffton Road. We have distributed flyers and brochures in the Waynedale area. Please bring your children, bring your neighbors, bring your friends to this great event.
We have been able to put together this holiday celebration with the help of numerous generous donors. Many of the prizes and some of the food were donated. Other supporters made monetary donations to help pay for the celebration. My staff has been wonderful in supporting this event with their hard work and donations too.
We cannot use tax dollars for an event like this, which is why I am so appreciative for the kindness shown by those who offered to help. Make sure to join us for what I hope will become an annual holiday tradition in Wayne Township.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee