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Angels and jingle bells

Posted: Monday, Dec 17th, 2012

SUBLETTE COUNTY – Santa is visiting many Sublette County children this year that might not have had the chance, thanks to generous residents in Pinedale and Big Piney/Marbleton who participated in the Angel Wreath and Angel Tree programs.

Every single one of the children’s angels included in the Angel Wreath program in Pinedale and the Angel Tree program in Big Piney were accounted for again.

Marilyn Erickson, Big Piney Recreation director and organizer of the Angel Tree program, is especially grateful to the Big Piney High School Student Council and Justi Crofutt, the student council’s advisor, for organizing the first-annual Jingle Bell Jog Saturday morning in Big Piney.

Runners, walkers and bikers signed up for the 5K or one-mile fun run, paying $20 for the 5K or $10 for the mile. Participants were invited to wear their ugliest Christmas sweaters and other holiday finery. Proceeds benefited the Angel Tree program, for which student council picked the last remaining couple of angels. The rest were taken care of by generous residents.

A total of 35 people – including 13 walkers, 22 runners and one biker – came out for the Jingle Bell Jog, giving hundreds of dollars to help the Big Piney Student Council purchase gifts for their angels. The runners included all 10 members of the Big Piney High School wrestling team, whose entries were paid for by their head coach Cole Clifford.

The fastest 5K runners were Cody Johler at 24 minutes, seven seconds, and Bonner Brown at 24 minutes, 45 seconds.

“All in all, we raised over $700 and went to Rock Springs Saturday afternoon, and bought presents for four children – two boys and two girls,” Crofutt said.

Crofutt also the little remaining money from the race will go toward next year’s Angel Tree program, or perhaps to another student-council service project such as a food drive.

The idea for the Jingle Bell Jog came up in a student council meeting where Crofutt’s students decided they wanted to do something to help the program.

“We wanted to support the Angel Tree, so we were brainstorming ideas to raise money in a meeting,” Crofutt said. “One of my students, Courtney Meisner, threw out the idea of a 5K, and it all just came together from there.”

Crofutt is happy with the turnout and hopes to make it into an annual event.

“It turned out to be a big success, even with the skiff of snow the night before, and I am already anticipating the second annual Jingle Bell Jog,” she said.

Although Pinedale did not have a similar event, residents upped their game in the last week of the Angel Wreath program. Last Tuesday, 23 angels remained – but by Friday, there were only two, Rendezvous Pointe Activities Director and Angel Wreath coordinator Beth Allen said.

The last couple of angels will have gifts bought through cash donations to the program, she said. All in all, this year’s Angel Wreath program served 43 local families, including 123 children on 246 paper angels.

“That is more than we’ve ever had,” Allen said. “Every angel has been picked up.”

Allen also said they’ve received cash donations for future Angel Wreaths and for donations toward the kids’ school lunch program. She believes that people participate in the Christmas holiday tradition to fulfill their need and desire to give.

“When you see the gratefulness on their (the recipients’) faces, you can tell you met a need – I love that,” she said. “I think people are happy to help.”

But the one thing she wishes she could see first-hand is the look on the children’s faces as they open their presents on Christmas Day.

“We all wish we could be a fly on the Christmas ornament and watch the kids open those presents,” Allen said.

For the complete article see the 12-18-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 12-18-2012 paper.

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