Mineral Wells Index
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.
Girls ages three to 19 compete in the main pageant and will be split into six age divisions. Contestants will model a party dress, sportswear and an optional Christmas outfit. The talent portion is also optional, but girls must enter it to be eligible for the overall title. There will be a queen and runner-up slots in each competition.
Babies from newborn to 35-months-old can enter one of three baby divisions. Like the big girls, each one must wear a party dress and a sportswear/play outfit. To compete for the supreme overall title, a baby must also enter the Christmas event in which they model something related to the Holiday Season.
Both babies and older girls may also enter a photo contest, provided they bring pictures the day of the pageant. The “V” formation will be used for modeling the babies and the older girls will do a “T” formation.
Boys can compete up to age four and will only compete against other boys.
Raffle tickets will also be on sale at the event for a 39-inch Toshiba flat screen television and a $100 gas card.
Parker said the significance of the money raised from the pageant and raffle is that it allows them to still buy presents for children that are not picked off the tree.
“The kids that don’t get picked off the tree, we go shopping for so they don’t get left out,” she said. “Some trees, like in Fort Worth, if a kid’s not picked off the tree, they don’t get anything. Here they do, because we go shopping for them.”
Signups for Tommy’s Angel Tree are Nov. 21 through Dec. 7 at the Steve Perdue Training Center at 300 South Oak Avenue. For more information about Tommy’s Angel Tree or the pageant, call (940) 325-7105.