There couldn’t be a more lovely place to hold this event than here at the Salvation Army’s Camp Ponderosa Ranch off the 504 Road. This amazing event is sponsored by the American Legion Riders, Salvation Army, Host and Heber Overgaard Fire Department.
As I arrived this morning I was thankful it was one of our beautiful winter days with no snow or rain because the line of parents with their children was wrapped around the building with two lanes! As I entered to see the many rows of tables filled with candy of all kinds; there were books, dominoes, balloons, popcorn balls, apples, suckers, taffy, chips, and small toys; just every kind of stocking stuffer any child would be happy to receive at Christmas. I am once again reminded of our generous, big-hearted community. All the children are given their own personal bag to fill for themselves. It must be a little overwhelming for some of the little ones because there is so much.
I met Pam Harris, the coordinator and spearhead of this event for the first time this day. It is no secret that Pam works tirelessly for many months arranging and organizing for the success of this very special occasion for our community. She has the zest and desire it takes to accomplish what she does. She is also our schools’ nurse so her plate is always full. Pam filled me in with the history of this annual Christmas party. She told me this party for the children has been continually happening for approximately 40 years now and every year she meets parents of some of the children who tell her they still have the Christmas ornament they received at their party here when they were small children. The sponsors may have changed along the line but the community effort has always been there to carry on the tradition.
One cannot help but notice that all things in this enormous room such as the Christmas tree, and other decorations throughout, Santa included were all in-scale to this architecturally stunning building built of timbers for beams and huge rock fireplaces and glass windows from ceiling to floor; it all fit together creating a magical Christmas wonderland for the children. It could not be a more perfect venue. Pam Harris reminded me that this program is for our community and is for ‘ALL’ the children of our community and for no charge. Some people may not be aware of that.
Santa was there and bigger than life sitting in front of the massive fireplace. The children were able to sit on Santa’s lap and have their photo taken. Just as you would think all this was enough; the room you exit through just happened to be Santa’s Workshop and it was filled with Santa’s helpers handing each child an individually wrapped present.
Pam Harris told me she is very pleased with the success of this event. She said, “I really appreciate all the community support. It means a lot to me and for some little children this might be the only gift they receive for Christmas.”
Thank you Pam and Todd Harris, American Legion Riders, HOST, Salvation Army and Heber Overgaard Fire Department for all your hard work and dedication. Also thank you Ace, HOME Center, Kim Gauman, Ponderosa Lions Club, Rod and Julie Mattila, Quality Fuels, NEC, NAPA, Eagles Auxiliary, Basin Satellite, American Legion Auxiliary, Chatters Construction, Faith Lutheran Church, Terry and Maggie Rutherford, MHS Culinary Arts, Debbie Greenawalt, Diana Tomlinson, Nicholaus Beaufax, Show Low Motorsports, SYSCO, and Carrisa’s Run for helping with one of the most important traditions in our community and once again bringing Christmas Magic to the children.