“Having fun, we get more work done.”

It has been about a week since we had our Benny Freeman 2nd Annual Tree Lighting event at TLCHQ. Even though it’s been a week, the memories are still vivid in my mind and probably in yours too, if you were there.

Allow me to explain why the tree lighting is named after Benny Freeman. Our director of Public Relations, Craig Cole, came across a story one night on Facebook. It was about a local mom with a special needs son named Benny. She wrote about how most local parks were closed, which meant that Benny’s mom had no access to the only handicap accessible swing in the area.

Benny found so much joy in swinging, so his mother made it a point to find a swing he could use. After no luck, she tried to put him in a child swing at a local park that was too small for him, and he got stuck. It was a very stressful and sad moment of frustration for Benny and his mother. Benny’s mom shared her experience and frustration via a Facebook post that Craig came across one day.

Craig immediately was drawn to the story and wanted to help. Being a father of two, he knew what it meant to want your kids to be happy, so he sprang into action. With his help, we launched the yearly tree lighting ceremony and asked for donations to buy handicap accessible swings for all the local community parks so kids like Benny could smile and have fun!

We had no idea what to do, but we decided to do what we always do: have fun! We started sharing ideas and soon came up with a plan! We would buy a permanent tree, sell ornaments for the tree for a small donation, and we would have a big outdoor TLC party to celebrate it all! We knew if we were going to do this, we would make having fun the number one rule!

A stage with LCD screens was brought in; a DJ played music, TLC employees shared their talents, like singing and playing instruments. We had gifts and games for all the kids, and Santa Claus was present for pics! There was reindeer, a life-size snow globe, decorations, a donut truck, a coffee and hot chocolate bar, and a nut station as well. We set up fire pits so people could keep warm, and we even had fireworks!

We invited everyone we could, hoping people would show up, and they did! Hundreds showed up to support the cause and have fun! It was a cold night, but the sight of the crowd, the fun we were having, and the presence of Benny Freeman were enough to warm our hearts enough to make us forget it was cold that night.

Everyone was grateful and having fun. Money was raised to buy more swings, and the night was once again a success! Next year will be even better and probably even more fun! Thanks to all that helped make it happen; you are all amazing.

Once again, we learned that by having fun, we get more work done! We also learned that by having fun, we get more charity done, more memories, more hope, more smiles, etc.

Having fun is what we do here, and we leverage that fun to accomplish just about anything you can think of! Next time you need to accomplish something great, try starting with having fun, and I am sure you will find that your accomplishments will far exceed anything you had imagined!

Thank you for reading this week, and thank you for your continued love and support for one another; it is something I appreciate. Next week is Christmas week; I hope you started shopping! If not, you have a little time left, but also make sure you do your best to give and be kind to other people this season so we can be in the Christmas spirit! Have a great week!

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