The children in the Haven’s After-School Program have been asking – daily – since the beginning of December, “WHEN is the party?”
The holiday party, held this past Wednesday in Bev’s House at the Haven and organized by the Jeffrey S. Holmes American Legion Post 84 in White River Junction, is the high point of the season for kids at the Haven.
Post 84 has been putting on this wonderful party for the past five years. They collect wish lists from the children, which include a list of their activities and interests. At the party, the Post 84 members bring pizza and dessert, and Santa comes and hands out presents to all the kids.
“As with all good things, I’m not sure who enjoyed the holiday party more—the children or the members of American Legion Post 84,” said Erin Wetherell, Children’s Services Coordinator at the Haven. “In addition to serving the kids pizza and ice cream sundaes, each child also received a few gifts and a big stocking from Santa. The holiday party continues to be the highlight of our year, and a tradition that we hope continues to be a treasured memory as the children grow.”
Post 84 was chartered in 2011 and is named for Jeffery S. Holmes, a White River Junction native born in 1984 and a U.S. Marine who died in combat on Thanksgiving Day 2004 in Iraq. The post has about twenty members. It is substance-free and focuses on community activities. Jeffery Holmes’s father and two uncles are charter members.
This year’s holiday party was as special as ever for the children of the Haven. It was bittersweet for many of the Post 84 members and the Haven staff, as we remembered Bob Ammel, Jr. who died in a tragic automobile accident in late November. Bob was our beloved Santa at the party in the past and brought so much joy to the children here and around the Upper Valley. We were honored to have Bob’s parents, Bob Sr. and Corabelle, at the Haven on Wednesday. Jack Candon joined us as Santa and told us, “I did this for Bob.” Bob will be deeply missed.