By RANDY TATANO
Special to Atmore News
Santa’s helpers don’t always work at the North Pole. In this case they catch bad guys, teach school and fly airplanes. While making a lot of phone calls.
A few weeks ago Brewton Aviation employee Ronald (“Nascar” Ron) Moye told company managers Freddy and Heather McCall he wanted to do a fundraiser for children who might not have such a Merry Christmas. Heather thought it was a great idea, and called Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson to help get the word out.
To identify the kids on Santa’s special list, Sheriff Jackson touched base with Escambia County School Superintendent Michele McClung. She in turn asked the school counselor in each of the county’s kindergarten-through-eight schools to submit names of deserving children.
A few weeks and more than $6,000 worth of donations later, the airport was filled with more than three dozen bicycles, boxes of toys, and stockings filled with goodies.
Those bikes were put together by some unlikely elves … as Sheriff Jackson drafted a half dozen inmates to take care of the “some assembly required” issue. Heather McCall did a lot of the shopping for the toys and games.
So on Christmas morning, dozens of Escambia County kids woke up to find a new bicycle, toys and games under the tree, thanks to the efforts of those with some extra holiday spirit.
“A few weeks ago, our friends at Aviation Specialists at the Brewton and Atmore airports partnered with the Escambia County School System and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office to help provide Christmas presents to some of our students who attend the schools throughout the county … We were able to provide gifts for 44 students.”
Brewton resident Randy Tatano is a veteran TV news reporter and network producer, and is currently a novelist and freelance writer for the Escambia County School System.