****Editor’s note: The story that ran in Thursday’s edition of the newspaper listed the Laurinburg Fire Department as the entity that donated gifts to two families helped by the Department of Social Services. That information was incorrect, it was the Scotland County Firefighters Association that donated the gifts. A revised version of the story can be found below.****
LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Firefighters Association made Christmas possible for two families on Tuesday donating a van full of presents to social services.
Tia Hunte, social worker III at Scotland County Department of Social Services, recommended two families she works with to receive gifts this Christmas. Her two families, one with a three-year old girl and the other with a five-month old girl and a seven-year old boy, were this year’s recipients of the generosity from the local fire fighters.
Williams Skipper, president of the Scotland County Firefighters Association and manager at One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning transported the gifts that were donated by the county’s fire fighters to the Department of Social Services where Hunte and her supervisor Shakeanma McDougald sorted and organized the van full of Christmas cheer.
After the families were selected, McDougald passed the ages of the children and their wish lists onto the Scotland County Firefighters Association. The firefighters purchased the gifts for the three children and additional items for the parents including toilet paper, laundry detergent and a Christmas meal.
“The firefighters look forwad to doing this each year,” said Skipper. “We intent to keep doing and making it bigger and better each year because we want to take care of those in need.”
The county fire departments that participated in purchasing the gifts were Laurel Hill, Gibson, Wagram, Spring Hill and Stewartsville. This is the third Christmas the association has fundraised throughout the year to raise the money to purchase the presents.
“Through it all I feel like the kids are absolutely worth it, regardless of the circumstance or situation they come from — they are worth it and they are so resilient,” Hunte said. “They can be in a terrible situation and they will always bounce back and continue to thrive. It was definitely important for me to make their Christmas was the best it could be.”
The firefighters and social workers at DSS won’t see the children open their gifts on Christmas, but Hunte said neither organization needs credit for their actions.
“It’s absolutely okay that we don’t receive the credit because we’re just facilitating it,” she said. “We’re just a small part in it all, the fire department donated everything. I’m just the middle man, getting it from point A to point B. I just said this family would be worthy of receiving gifts.”
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170 or email@example.com.