Bringing a small gift of joy in the midst of destruction

Published 11:06 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
Friday night Dec. 10, 2021 will be a night that residents from Mayfield, KY will not soon forget. That night a ravaging tornado tore through the town trapping workers at the local candle factory and leaving massive destruction as most people were looking forward to celebrating Christmas with family and friends.

Since that time a local business, Whitehead Construction, Inc. has been working to come up with toys, coats, and personal hygiene items to help bring a little Christmas joy to the children of the community who were impacted by the storm.

After working hand in hand with Dr. Dennis Deese of Fan the Flames Ministries, state Rep. John Holsclaw, and Bradley McVey of Valley Forge Wholesale Warehouse, Preston Whitehead and his company will be departing from Elizabethton at 5 a.m. on Friday morning to make the trek to the Kentucky community with a truck load of items for the seven hour drive.

“We have just got it covered up with tarps and are heading down there at 5 a.m. in the morning,” said Whitehead. “We are having to take it to a church which will take it into the community.

“A lot of them will have no Christmas and don’t have coats because everything was destroyed. We kept calling to try to get all the coats and presents that we could get and Willie McVey sold everything to us wholesale plus a couple of pallets that he donated. It’s a full trailer load of stuff and hundreds of kids will be able to have a gift and a coat because it’s getting ready to turn off cold.”

Whitehead shared that this is what Christmas is all about to him in knowing the blessing of passing on to a child and family a gift and some other items even in a time that is bad such as the one that is being experienced.

“They don’t need it three weeks from now,” said Whitehead. “They need it now. A Christmas tree is all a kid knows when it comes to Christmas with gifts under it. They don’t think outside the box. Santa Claus is supposed to bring them presents.

“This Christmas while we are all sitting around and eating and doing what we do, we need to think about that. That is the blessing that I am looking for is to know those kids are going to have something. We are all fortunate and it could happen to us very, very easily.”

Whitehead added that even though Mayfield is about a six to seven-hour drive, they are still neighbors who are in need. And while it took some effort to pull everything together, he said one thing would make his Christmas.

“If there is one little kid that gets joy from what we have done, it’s all worth it to me.”