It never gets old: Tales of good people helping others in Chatham-Kent.
The latest such story, on the front page of our paper by the way, involves a group of local business owners placing their blind faith in one man, Greg Hetherington.
The owner/operator of CKXS deserves recognition for being the driving force behind an incredibly special event that recently occurred in Wallaceburg. Every child – all 40 of them who attended the recent Knights of Pythias breakfast with Santa in Wallaceburg – went home that day with their dream gifts.
You know, the ones they whispered in Santa’s ear at the event.
Be it an Xbox or an iPad or a superhero diorama, they received what they asked for, thanks to about two dozen volunteers behind the scenes.
A visit for a supposed gift bag at Canadian Tire resulted in them walking out with their dream items in hand.
It left most children flummoxed and many of their parents in tears.
The mastermind, Hetherington, was understandably on Cloud 9 following the event. So too was supporter Peter Marshall of Canadian Tire. He was one of a handful of people who knew what was going on in advance of the big day.
Hetherington kept it all a secret, even from most of the people who donated $1,000 or more to help purchase the toys.
The concept was hatched when Hetherington was chatting with local businessman Max Fantuz. Fantuz told Hetherington if he could make it work, then he’d get Fantuz’s financial support.
Other prospective donors were only told that their donation would go towards a very special event and they’d have to trust Hetherington.
To top it off, they had to make the check out to Hetherington, as he needed the cash in hand to purchase the gifts.
No problem. Nine folks ponied up the money, no questions asked, and Hetherington had a $14,000 gift fund.
This couldn’t happen in a larger community. The trust factor just wouldn’t be there. But Hetherington, a public figure for years in Chatham-Kent for his efforts working in broadcasting and his many hours of charitable work, has obviously got the trust of a number of local business owners and corporations.
And 40 kids and their parents benefitted wonderfully from that trust.
Furthermore, as only $9,000 of the $14,000 raised was used for the giveaway, the remaining funds will help other children enjoy this Christmas in C-K. The leftover $5,000 will go towards the Chatham Goodfellows and Salvation Army campaigns.
Charity doesn’t always begin in the home.