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The giving and the spirit of our small coastal towns still overwhelms me. It’s not the buildings getting the colorful lights with all the trimmings.

As each year passes my heart warms, feeling closer to my friends, and my family here on the coast, for good reason. It’s the giving I’ve observed year after year. Sadly, the need has grown, not just here but throughout the country. Yet Lincoln County pulls off a holiday miracle each year!

It’s amazing to see all the gifts for the children our community donates, and the many volunteers that will be wrapping them, so that a child can unwrap a toy on Christmas morning, and the huge gathering of food so every family can enjoy a holiday meal. There is nothing more delightful than seeing a family receive gifts, children’s eyes wide open with amazement and a mother’s eyes perhaps a little tearful with gratitude.

So many memories have been made on the Oregon Coast for my family, Lighted Boat Regatta in Yaquina Bay, the Lighting of the Annual Christmas Tree and the Angels Ball. And there where some special holidays over the decades and wanted mention a few you might have forgotten that touched individuals far from our coast.

There was the Christmas our community sent hundreds of Rotary Wreathes to Firehouses throughout New York City in 2001, after 9/11 and how one of these wreathes reached a FDNY Engine Company that formed a lasting relationship between Engine Company 55 and our community.

Then there was the Christmas of 2005, when our residents purchased toys, food, blankets and a truck load of fresh cut Oregon Christmas trees to be driven to the devastated city of Waveland, Mississippi, “ground zero” for Hurricane Katrina. The people of Waveland said they had Christmas that year thanks to folks in Oregon.

I can go on and on about the generosity I’ve seen, the clothes, food, sleeping bags and kindness given to the unsheltered living in our county, the school children’s Backpack program providing nutrition and hope, or dozens of churches and people who provide much needed shelter during the cold winter months. We see only a fraction of what goes on here during the holidays and all year round. There are hundreds of people in this community who each year dig deep and give to those who are less fortunate. It’s the true meaning of the holidays.

So, thanks to everyone that tosses a few coins in the Salvation Army bucket, drops a new toy into a toy collection box, brings a warm meal to an elderly person, or just sincerely greets another person with a “Happy Chanukah”, “Joyful Kwanza” or “Merry Christmas”.

Seasons Greetings and make great memories,

Jim & Diane Kusz (and our dog “Nick” whose full name is “Saint Nicholas”)

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