On July 14, 2018 we celebrated Jase’s 5th Birthday. It actually was more like an end of the celebration, as his birthday was on July 1 and he has been in celebration mode ever since.
We had our usual large party organized and ran by Tracy. Again this year we held it at the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department Headquarters in Pineville, KY. They are such an amazing family up there and we have the best time when we are up there.
This year’s theme was Pokemon, and as usual it was a great time with lots of food. We did something a little different this year. Most people know we are big into charity work and community support. We obviously try to instill that value into Jase, and this year, to help him understand and participate in this, we held a toy drive during his birthday party.
In Harlan County since the late 1970’s a man named MIke Howard has delivered toys and food to needy families ever year at Christmas dressed as Santa. The yearly runs have become just part of the tradition of Christmas in Harlan. Everyone went out to watch Santa go by riding in the back of a truck and the train of support vehicles that trailed behind him, often with lights, sirens, and music blaring.
Well Mike passed away in January of this year after a lengthy battle with cancer. Mike was an angel on earth to so many people, and truly touched everyone he met. I spend time as a young man riding along with the support train and helping in the workshop wrapping and loading toys. I didn’t spend a lot of time there, but the time I spent has left a lasting impression on me. Tracy and I try our best to serve our community and help where we can. Much of the reason I hold this value today is because my father introduced me to Mike during my 8th grade year.
Mike’s son and daughter have decided to continue to the tradition in memory of their father. Tracy and I decided that we wanted to help this noble cause, and have been collecting and donating toys since January. This was what led us to the toy drive.
Due to some unfortunate events and poor timing our turnout for this year’s party was rather low, but regardless we had an amazing time, and had great food. We managed to feed a ton of first responders that were working which always makes us happy. Check out some of the pictures.
Jase with his toys for the Toy Drive. He was so excited to give the toys to “Santa” for other boys and girls