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in the spotlight  
In the Spotlight

A Kiwanis Christmas

Kiwanis XmasThis Christmas season prommises to be a good one for an Army family that our Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club has adopted.

Evelyn Madison was up till about 1am Friday night - Saturday morning, wrapping presents, which we then delivered around 11am Saturday morning. It was Evelyn who suggested we adopt the family after having heard they were homeless for one week, living in a car, before they finally were able to manage a small apartment, barely large enough to accommodate Chris, his wife Jamie, and their five kids. Little did any of us realize what a large task it was and how many gifts we would be able to secure for the family. In addition to a houseful of almost new furniture we now delivered about 100 gifts to the family (plus a little something stowed away on behalf of Santa, which we gave to mom and dad privately).

Chris suffers from, among other injuries, TBI (traumatic brain injury). This is a fairly common injury from many of our returning wounded warriors, usually caused by being involved in IED (improvised explosive device) events. The concussion from these blasts, if they don’t kill you or blow off an arm or a leg, knocks the hell out of your brain and the effects are long lasting.

XmasLyle with EmilyWhile brain damage isn’t as visible as an amputated arm or leg, it’s every bit as painful and traumatic to the warrior.

It’s been a whole lot of work by a number of people. All of our Kiwanis Club members brought gifts for the family, Dave Geary, bless his heart, was the one who arranged for the houseful of furniture. Probably around $5,000 worth of top grade furniture. Didn’t cost this family a dime. We even delivered it, and assembled the bunk beds, dressers, bureaus, etc. Joe and Jody Heard, members of the Escondido Kiwanis Club (which we call the “noon club” – we’re the “morning club”) collected around 9,000 toys and/or other gifts – many of which we received for this family, the others being distributed to other needy kids, as well as being shipped over to Romania.

When I created “Operation Hero” about two years ago, I never dreamed of how much our club would accomplish. The program has grown and has now been adopted by two other Kiwanis clubs in North San Diego County. It is a program that accomplishes great things and helps out really deserving wounded warriors. I’m very proud of it.

Kiwanis is a great organization. We accomplish a lot of great things and we hang around with just super, super people. If you’d like to know more about Kiwanis, or learn where a club is in your area, call us at 760.747.7119.

 





 
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