Yesterday I was honored to be among those chosen to attend a very important press conference honoring one of my close friends and colleagues in SWLA.  John Lamar, with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots SWLA, received the National Regional Coordinator award from the organization he dedicates his life to.  The award is a big deal, including Regional partners such as:  Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

A feat that most of us may shy away from, John always has a smile on his face and a hug to share.  The first statement from him, when I see him, is "how are you doing, Erin?"  And, then, "How have you been feeling?".  Always more concerned about me more than him.   We met on a whim, when he was wearing an University of Alabama shirt and my boss, being a LSU fan, called him out on it.  Lots of good ribbing went back and forth and a friendship was born.  I am so blessed to call him a friend.

I love Christmas time, the music, food, and wrapping my heart around the giving spirit that the time of year brings.  Last year in SWLA, 18,887 children experienced the joy of Christmas.  Each child received gifts on a day where if it were not for Toys for Tots SWLA, they would have had nothing.  I got to see first hand the joy in a child's eye, the laughter and the huge hugs that were given to me as I handed them their presents.  Or, showed them which bicycle was theirs.  I can't wait for December to roll around, giving means more to me than receiving.

Come with me this December, feel the joy for yourself.  Contact Toys for Tots SWLA, it will warm your heart.