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OUR VIEW: Another of Valley’s long-time holiday traditions

Ray and Jackie Edwards and their 10-year-old great grandson Gavin Walden are at it again. They are once again playing Santa Claus for seniors throughout the Greater Valley Area and Chambers County. It’s the 28th year they’ve taken this on. It’s something they do purely out of the goodness of their hearts to help spread holiday joy every Christmas at local senior centers, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and in their Todd Addition neighborhood in Valley.

The red and white Christmas stockings they distribute each year are huge and are packed with apples, oranges, peppermint candy, candy canes, cake and some small gifts.

Each stocking has a Christmas card that’s individually signed. That meant signing “Merry Christmas! Ray and Jackie Edwards” 350 times. That’s how many stockings went out this year.

This Christmas stocking giveaway is an extraordinary thing the Edwards have been doing for close to 30 years now. They are good people who want to do their part in spreading Christmas joy to seniors in the local area.

Sadly, some seniors are among the loneliest, most isolated people in our community. It’s especially true for those who are home bound. The City of Valley has three buses that will be going out Friday morning on their daily delivery of a hot meal to home-bound seniors. On Friday, a total of 110 seniors will be getting one of the Christmas stockings packed with goodies. It’s sure to make their day. Some of these people just want someone to talk to, a friendly face that says “Hi! How ya doing’?”

The bus driver who delivers their week-day meal may be the only person they see that day.

Ray, Jackie and Gavin are champions for the elderly and are deserving of our heartfelt commendation for this.

Ray is a champion not just for the local area but for the state of Alabama as well. He’s been a board member of the Alabama Department 0f Senior Services for the better part of 16 years now and has been chairman for most of that time. One doesn’t do this for the money; it’s something you do because you love your fellow man and want to help make their lives easier and more pleasant.

This Christmas season let’s take our Santa caps off to salute the bringers of the stockings, Ray, Jackie and Gavin. There’s no way to measure the happiness they’ve brought people when they visit them on Christmas Stocking Day.

The City of Valley is known everywhere for their Christmas traditions. Over 3 million people have ridden the Christmas Merry Go Round since 1956.

The Langdale Nativity has been a continuing tradition since 1948, and the Madonna has been something many of us have looked forward to every Christmas season since 1961.

Christmas Stocking Day at a local senior center, Sylvia Word Manor, Valley Park Manor, an assisted living center or nursing home is a cherished tradition, too.