YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) - It's cold outside Yukon Fire Station No. 1, but there are plenty of warm hearts inside - all folks involved with Santa's Toy Shoppe of Eastern Canadian County, and all here to honor Jim Poe, nominated for Pay it 4ward by Donna Yanda.
"Jim has been donating his time and efforts for the children of Canadian County for 18 years. He works with the Santa's Toy Shoppe of Eastern Canadian County, and they provide toys for families of less fortunate children," Donna said. "Without Santa's Toy Shop, they would not have a Christmas."
"He works all year long just to get all these things put together. He just gets people involved, and it makes everyone's heart sing," said Marsha Peterson Carter, a volunteer.
Donetta Moore with First Fidelity Bank presented Donna a $400 check so she could pay it forward to Jim.
"At First Fidelity, we are always happy to support any cause where someone is going above and beyond to help our community, and we are just so excited to pay it forward. Jim helping the children of Canadian County really means a lot to us," Donetta said.
It's one minute until noon and the excitement grows among a crowd who are so thankful for Jim and what he does for the community. When Jim walks in, he finds a huge surprise.
Jim wept as Donna presented him the check and said the following to him: "Jim, because of your love and dedication to the Santa's Toy Shoppe, you along with your many volunteers and donors allow children to have a magical Christmas who are less fortunate, and we are so fortunate to have you in Canadian County, and you are so deserving of this award, and on behalf of News Channel 4 and First Fidelity, I would like to present you with $400 dollars. One, two, three four. Thank you."
Jim received another surprise, this one from Yanda and Son Funeral Home – another $400.
Jim turns the praise around for others.
"For the pleasure of helping, and I feel like I help more of the volunteers. They enjoy it as well as the kids who don't know about it, but they receive the advantage of it, they receive the benefit. But everybody out here has helped – these guys, those guys, them guys over there – it's unbelievable what all they have done and how much it's helped," Jim said.
"It's just fun for us to see the joy of the kids, and we see all their pictures out there, and you get to see how happy and how much they enjoy it, and they aren't as fortunate as we are sometimes, so just the joy on their faces afterwards," said Cody Watson, a volunteer.
For all involved, that is what it is all about!
"When they walk in and you help the family get the toys for their kids, they are crying and you are trying not to cry, but you do – it's just the community, it's the way we are," said a community member in attendance at Jim's celebration.
A fire station where so many call for help – a perfect place to pay it forward to Santa helper Jim Poe and his army of elves.
Here is a list of items the group still needs:
Pay It Forward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.