By: Madison Fugate
Families, and especially young children, of the community were overwhelmed with joy and appreciation as the AMVets Post 67 hosted their annual Christmas event. Children eagerly awaited outside the doors of the Post 67 building as they were welcomed in by friendly volunteers who enjoyed nothing more than the smiles on their faces, hence the name of the program- Christmas with a Smile.
The AMVets Post 67 have been able to bring this holiday event to the community for 15+ years now. It’s a self-sponsored event with the generous help of donations from the community. Perhaps the most shocking realization of it all, aside from walking in the building and gazing at the display of new bicycles, coats and mountains of wrapped gifts for all ages, was discovering how many children are impacted by this wonderful gesture. Because of Christmas with a Smile, more than 350 children were able to celebrate Christmas this year with their choice of a new coat, new bicycle, and wrapped gifts. Any child that is a resident of Powell County was welcome to participate, from ages 0-14 years. Last year the event sponsored as many as 423 children from the community. Each individual child was able to have a chance to win from a wide selection of bicycles, choose a new coat, at least 3 gifts, candy/fruit, and a picture opportunity with Santa Claus.
Humbling to hear about, even more humbling to witness, as workers helped these children locate the perfect bicycle and coat before exiting the building. Cherie Carpenter of the AMVets comments, “We do it from the heart. This is one of the most important events we sponsor each year.” She further adds that the most rewarding part of it all is the look in their eyes as they come through, “It’s just a small part of how we support the community that supports us.”