Advance knows ‘What Christmas Is All About’

Published 8:49 am Thursday, January 4, 2018

ADVANCE – The year was 1993.

Two families in this community faced a sad and difficult Christmas.

One, a young mother of small children, suffered declining health due to cancer.The other, a member of Advance Fire Department, died unexpectedly leaving a wife and two  teenage daughters.

Talk started at L&S Grocery, a hub for what’s what in Advance at the time, that something should be done to support them. It is impossible to name all those who stepped up to meet the challenge.

Some began organizing, others collected gifts, and  many more donated money. Soon everything was in place, when the question arose as to how  to get everything to the families. The answer was clear, Santa should deliver it and he would  do it on a fire truck.

On Christmas Eve, 1993, Santa, Mrs. Claus, a North Pole Elf, and a number of local support staff loaded gifts on a Advance fire truck and headed out.

The two visits were made and by the end, not a dry eye could be found. Everyone who participated agreed to do this again. They called it “What Christmas Is All About.”

The two tragic events of 1993 triggered an outpouring of love and compassion that continues still. This year, for the 25th, time, more than 40 individuals gathered at Advance Fire Department and  enjoyed breakfast together. Following the meal, everyone assembled for the reading of the history of how “What Christmas is All About” began as composed by Lori Carter Gunter and is  the historical information used in this article.

Everyone divided into three groups and headed  out into the community to deliver 60 baskets filled with goodies and a lot of Christmas cheer.

Through these 25 trips, hundreds have felt that love and compassion through a basket, a bag, a stuffed animal, a song or just being remembered by a visit.

“All those who have made the trip on Christmas Eve will tell you they are the ones who have really been blessed,” said Ronnie Robertson. “Just as the Christ child gave himself for us, giving of ourselves to others is truly ‘What Christmas is All About’.”