Angel Tree Makes A Brighter Christmas For Thousands Of Children - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/19/07- Smith County

Angel Tree Makes A Brighter Christmas For Thousands Of Children

Thanks to you, more than 3,000 Smith County children will have a present under the tree this Christmas.

"It's just a beautiful moment where real salvation takes place, said Captain John Falin, Commanding Officer with the Tyler Salvation Army.  "To see tears streaming down faces and laughter and parents just hugging you with great joy, no words can express it."

Besides toys, food and clothing were also given to those in need.

"They've been a life-saver, in more ways than one," said Deborah Walker, mother of four. 

Walker moved her family to East Texas after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. She and her four children are still struggling financially, but she said that's made them more appreciative.

"I teach mine, just whatever you get be thankful for it, whatever it is. Even if you don't have gifts just be thankful for your life."

Giving and serving others, the true meaning and joy of Christmas for these "everyday angels."

"You know you're helping people that need a little hand-out at Christmas time," said Lynne Wagoner, Salvation Army volunteer.  "We just find great joy in doing it. It blesses us very much."

And for those in receipt of these gifts, words can hardly express the gratitude.

"If it wasn't for the Angel Tree our kids wouldn't get anything," said Holly Helrigel, mother.  "We didn't have much for them, so it makes it a lot better."

Longview's Salvation Army said they're giving to some 1200 angels this year.

Courtney Lane, Reporting  

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