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On behalf of the Operation REACH Board of Directors, I want to express our appreciation and thanks to the thousands of people throughout Roane County who helped make our 38th year a success.
If you are a county deputy, policeman, or fireman under the leadership of the sheriff, police chiefs or fire chiefs, both city and county, who took up money at roadblocks for our program, we are grateful.
For those businesses and individuals who mailed money in to us, we are grateful.
No, we did not make our original goal but we came close and were able to shop with a total of 477 children; 203 on Friday night, Dec. 13, and 274 on Saturday, Dec. 14.
To the school board members and school superintendent who allow us to share with the children, please accept our thanks.
To the school bus drivers who drove the 13 buses including the supervisor of buses, Tim Goss, who is retiring at the end of this year and who has worked with us through the years, we are especially grateful.
To those teachers, principals, school staff, and Tennessee National Guard who rode our buses and helped our children with any problems, thank you for giving up a Saturday and helping with our children.
For the hundreds who came and helped us shop, had lunch with the children, and helped wrap presents at the Rockwood Middle School and Rockwood High School once the shopping was complete at the Rockwood Wal-Mart, we say thanks.
Dare I mention that probably 400 of those volunteers were high school students from Rockwood, Kingston, Midway, Harriman, and Oliver Springs?
We also had youth church groups from surrounding counties such as Knox, Anderson, Blount, and Loudon Counties, who helped with the shopping.
This speaks well for our youth and their leaders. I feel confident that our future generation of leaders is in good hands.
I am sure that I have left out many that should be recognized, but once again, with the grace of God, we managed to keep Christ in Christmas and allow young children to provide, for their families, gifts and necessities that we often take for granted.
Thanks to the Roane County News staff for their articles, pictures, and support.
Bobby L. Collier,