Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 23, 2012

Bluefield Rescue Squad delivers Christmas joy to local children

BLUEFIELD — In just a month’s time, a causal conversation between three employees of the Bluefield Rescue Squad snowballed into a full-blown Christmas part for 23 children and their families, with the possibility of becoming a tradition in the years ahead.

Misty Owens, Amanda Pennington and Stephanie Hamblin were talking one afternoon, and as the conversation drifted in the direction of Christmas, the three squad members thought it might be good to try and do something for a few families in need this year.

“We all came up with the idea at the same time,” Pennington said. “We thought it would be good if we could get some of the other members of the squad involved, and it just took off from there.”

Within just a few days, squad members got behind the project and started working to raise funds and get donations from businesses.

“One of the guys had a bell on his phone,” Rodney Shorter said. “Every time the bell would ring, it meant we got another donation.”

Sean Cantrell, chief of operations for the Rescue Squad said that the squad worked with the Marine Corps League, and they selected 24 children from their Toys for Tots program that the squad could provide for.

“These 24 children did not participate in the Marine Corps League Toys for Tots party that took place on Friday,” Sam Pennington, Rescue Squad administrator said.

Cantrell said that a majority of the businesses that the squad contacted participated. He added that all 42 employees of the squad worked to make the first party a big success.

“We’ve been shopping for the past three days,” Amanda Pennington said. The squad members visited stores at the Mercer Mall, the Bluefield Kmart and the Bluefield, Va., Walmart to make their selections.

Along with the presents, the squad provided pizza, soft drinks, cupcakes and snacks for the children and family members who attended.

Kristin Seiteinger, who lives in Florida, came to the party with a niece. “Without this, they wouldn’t have a Christmas at all,” she said.

– Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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