Giving of themselves

Published 12:41 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Add another victim to the list of Hurricane Irene victims.

This victim is the Washington Christmas Flotilla, one of the favorite Hometown Holidays events. Because Hurricane Irene left the Washington waterfront without electrical power, the Washington Harbor District Alliance and the Pamlico Sail and Power Squadron, which work as partners to present the Christmas Flotilla, decided to suspend the event for this year.

“We met and discussed the options, but felt that due to concerns over the safety of the volunteers (who put on this event) and the boaters (who participate with their vessels), it would be best to suspend the annual parade of lights,” said Beth Byrd, alliance director, in an email. “There was some physical damage done to the docks, especially the dingy dock, which PTRF uses to launch their fantastic kayak presentations. There are also ongoing plans to improve the electrical stanchions, thus the delay in restoring power to the docks.”

The suspension of the Christmas Flotilla is bad news. The nautical parade of lights has become one of Washington’s signature events.

But don’t despair. It looks like, with the help of many of those same volunteers who bring us the Christmas Flotilla, there’s plenty on tap for Dec. 3’s Hometown Holidays.

Santa Claus will be the focal point of the Washington Kiwanis’ Christmas parade in downtown Washington. There will be opportunities throughout the day to see Santa and have photographs taken with him.

An important part of Hometown Holidays is being able to donate to the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots. Despite some rumors to the contrary, Toys for Tots is a go in the Beaufort County area.

Toys for Tots provides toys for children who otherwise may not receive toys for Christmas. The toys collected in the area are given to needy children in the area. If there are any surplus toys, they may be sent to areas where they are needed.

There’s something satisfying when it comes to watching the Toys for Tots collection boxes fill up with toys and observing the Marines show up with several trucks, fill them with toys and haul those toys off to be distributed to hundreds, if not thousands, of children just before Christmas.

The merriment of Hometown Holidays and the happiness that Toys for Tots brings to needy area children would not exist if it were not for the volunteers who organize, support and staff these events and charities. They make the holiday season special for all of us.

Reward their efforts by participating in Hometown Holidays and Toys for Tots.