There are some very special people who are determined to bring a little – or a lot – of cheer your way this holiday and Christmas season. Avon's Clint Gault is one. He reminds me of the unsinkable Molly Brown, better known for her philanthropy than surviving the sinking of the Titanic. Gault wants to be remembered for the good he does, too. I have no doubt he would have survived the Titanic, and, in his ability to seek out something good in every situation, would say, “And I am now a far better swimmer.”

Pastor Tom Hicks at Sheffield Lake Baptist Church and his church members had big plans for quarterly community events throughout 2020. Similarly, Gault, president of French Creek Foundation, and a slew of volunteers including his colleagues at Wealth Health LLC, have had a major role in planning and pulling off Avon's annual tree lighting festival for the past decade.

Then came COVID.

They could have canceled. Instead they reimagined what might be possible to have a little fun, keep families safe and save Christmas. As Gault declared, “We're bringing the cheer a little early this year. We're gonna maximize the cheer.”

It cannot come soon enough.

As the song suggests, “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute” with the lights, the lighter spirit, kindness and warmth the season always seems able to deliver.

Pastor Tom reminded me the holidays can be hard for some folks. When I asked him why people should come to the church's drive-through lighting event, he told me, “We're doing this because we want to bring a small amount of joy into the community for what can be a really hard season for a lot of people.”

Neighbors tell me Avon Lake has already put up lights at Veterans Park and I would guess a number, if not most, of our communities are planning something to brighten up the last month of what has been a pretty dreary year.

One thing seems certain. Surrounding yourself with people who are positive about life and the future can bring you up if you're feeling down.

So can helping and the need is greater this year than ever. I think about the selfless volunteers who make sure area seniors are delivered nutritious meals, or the knitting and crocheting groups who work their fingers to the bone then donate caps, scarves, lap blankets and more to hospitals, cancer centers or the little ones at Blessing House. Others help veterans, homeless people, senior citizens, troubled kids, abused animals or addicts. Truth is, neither the government nor businesses could accomplish what the volunteers of churches, nonprofits and small groups do. How do I know? If they could, they'd be doing it already.

Even retail behemoths have made it easy to order clothes or housewares, pet supplies, cleaning products or food without leaving your house. While at it, purchase something on a nonprofit's wish list and have it sent to the organization. It isn’t hard to be one of those people determined to deliver a little — or a lot — of cheer during this season of giving. Happy Thanksgiving.

Note: The Dec. 2 edition will feature stories about the two events mentioned in this column.

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