By CLINT FOSTER
The Christmas season is fast approaching and with it comes the obligation to give to the less fortunate in the true spirit of Christmastime.
Every year, countless children go without presents during the Holidays, but the local version of the Angel Tree does it’s best to ensure no child in Palo Pinto County is left without a present on Christmas morning.
Tommy’s Angel Tree – named for Mineral Wells firefighter and philanthropist Tommy Parker, who died of a heart attack at a fire in 1992 – has been serving the children of Mineral Wells for 20 years in the spirit of Christmas and the tree’s namesake. Angel Tree Coordinator and Tommy’s sister-in-law, Connie Parker, said the tree represents his legacy and work with children in the community.
“Tommy was just a very kid-oriented person,” she said. “He just cared about kids and people. He was a giver. We’re just trying to keep it going in his honor.”
Like most angel trees, Tommy’s Angel Tree features the names of needy children hung as ornaments on a Christmas tree. Those interested in buying a present for a child simply pluck that child’s angel off the tree (complete with information such as age and gender) and use it to buy a gift to be delivered for Christmas.
Parker said the beauty of the Angel Tree is that it thrives on complete community involvement.
“From people helping with the signups, to the wrapping, to picking angels off trees, it just shows all the support that the community comes out and gives to these kids that are underprivileged and probably wouldn’t have a lot for Christmas,” she said.
Also coming up in association with the Angel Tree is the annual Angel Tree Christmas Pageant on Dec. 7. Children of all ages will have the opportunity to compete in the modeling and talent competition at Lamar Elementary School with all proceeds going exclusively to benefit the Tommy’s Angel Tree and the kids it serves.