AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The generosity of others made the 51st Mayor's Christmas Motorcade Program at East Central Regional Hospital another one to remember.
Monetary donations and other items were collected by cities throughout the state to help provide gifts for those less fortunate this Christmas.
Residents from Thomson were not to be outdone. Firefighters with the City of Thomson Fire Department recently worked several hours on a boot drive at the local Walmart to raise money to help provide gifts at the South Augusta facility.
"I'm just happy we could be part of it again this year," said Thomson Fire Chief Rick Sewell.
"Our local firefighters did another fine job of raising money for this very worthy project and I thank them from the bottom of my heart."
Chief Sewell was accompanied by Amelia Harrison, who serves as secretary at the local fire department.
"I enjoy coming down every year," said Mrs. Harrison. "It makes me feel good to help people."
Brian Mulherin, of Augusta, is another one of the longtime volunteers at ECRH. He, like so many others, does what he does because he cares.
"It's so nice to see the smiles on the faces of these consumers," said Mr. Mulherin, who served as this year's master of ceremonies.
He especially likes working as one of Santa Claus' helpers.
"I've gone through three suits working as one of Santa's helpers since 1968," said Mr. Mulherin. "A sense of joy comes over them when Santa Claus comes around."
For Martha Ness, one of the co-chairpersons of this year's ECRH Mayor's Christmas Motorcade, says it's a blessing to be around the consumers there at Christmas.
"Everybody seems so happy this time of the year," said Mrs. Ness.
"For a lot of them at ECRH, we are their family, because many of them don't have families of their own."
Regenia Harrison-Moore, who works at ECRH, said the annual Christmas program "warms our hearts so much. It really means a lot to us and to the consumers."
Last year, the City of Thomson presented the biggest check ever -- one for slightly more than $4,500 during the 50th Mayor's Christmas Motorcade.
"Today, we are fulfilling a mission," said the Rev. John Smalley, a member of Thomson City Council, who also journeyed to ECRH for last week's special Christmas program.
"We're actually giving back to those in need. We easily could be one of them. In God's wisdom, we were blessed not to be here. Since we have been so blessed, we ought to give back."
Thomson Mayor Kenneth Usry agreed, saying,
"It's Christmas. It's a time to give -- not receive."
Consumers attending the Christmas program were treated to a variety of special music, along with a brief visit from that jolly old man himself, Santa Claus.