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A modern day Christmas miracle

By Walter Geiger Every morning, I rise early ‘“ well before dawn. I settle into my chair, drink the day’s first cup of coffee and read two chapters of The Bible. Then I say my morning prayers. I thank God for my many manifold blessings. I seek forgiveness for my equally manifold sins. I ask for Divine protection for my family. At the end of the prayer, I ask the Lord to ‘˜place someone in my path today that I might help’. That is the ritual every day. After the prayer, I pour the second cup of coffee and go through the e-mail. I get a lot of e-mail. On Dec. 9, the first e-mail to pop up contained the words Dear Santa in the subject line. This is the text that followed: My name is Connor Hatchett. I just moved to 674 Country Kitchen Rd. I like my new home here in Barnesville. I am non verbal and non ambulatory. My favorite thing to do is swing and I would like you to please bring me a wheelchair swing. I have been a real good boy all year. If you can bring my mommy and daddy a surprise too that would be nice. Thank you very much. Have a very Merry Christmas. Love, Connor I realized quickly that God had, perhaps, placed someone in my path that I could help. I trust in God but with humans I follow the doctrine of trust but verify. I contacted county nurse manager Sherry Farr at the Lamar County Health Department and asked her to determine if the need was legitimate. She and her staff got right on it and, by the next morning, I knew Connor was for real. He suffers from cerebral palsey and microcephaly. His dad died sometime back of cancer. He lives with his mother, Laura, and step-father, Dennis Watson, in a home Dennis largely built himself with Connor’s special access needs in mind. I had no idea that such a thing as a wheelchair swing existed but Sherry and Kay Payton of her office had already found one at Flag House. A Santa there named Hank agreed to provide the swing at cost and said he would eat the freight charges. We needed $1,300. At noon that day, I told this story to the Barnesville Rotary Club. I left with $500 and a pledge for another $250. Kay was confident. ‘I know Barnesville will come through,’ she said. She ordered the wheelchair swing, putting the cost on her personal credit card. She and her husband, Randy, donated $150. Kay was right. I posted the need on barnesville. com and more money flowed in ‘“ much of it $10 and $20 at the time. Employees at Southern Rivers Energy where Connor’s stepdad works ponied up $440. Alvah and Kristin Pasley chipped in $250. American Legion Post 25 donated $150. First United Methodist Church came up with $100 from its emergency fund. The wheelchair swing is paid for. When it arrives Dec. 23, Kay and Randy will install it with the help of their son-in-law Scott Calloway. At last count, just over $2,000 had been raised. Sherry and Kay took the Watsons the balance in cash. They plan to pay it forward and help someone else in need. On Christmas Day, Connor will be able to enjoy his new swing. It’s a modern day Christmas miracle. ’It is wonderful to be able to help others but we know we are just the facilitators. This is God’s work,’ Sherry said. Indeed, it is. Merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us here at The Herald Gazette and

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