Reno, NV (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - Greeted by big, little smiles, Santa visited 40 children of military families to grant them a holiday wish at the Double Diamond Athletic Club in South Reno.
Each child went home with a wrapped present thanks to the efforts of the club's staff and members, who raised $1500, and organized the event in less than a week. Gym owner, Mike Shirley helped spearhead the event.
“The guys I've met and the stories I've heard … the work they put in, and what they've done for us … we've met a great bunch of guys and there is a real need to [help] out the kids and those who stay at home. It seemed like a good thing to do,” says Shirley.
Veteran Derek Hughes served in Iraq and was impressed and honored the community reached out to his family in this way.
“This is the first I've heard that they've reached out to veterans’ children that I've heard about. I think it’s fantastic. It's a really great way to just really let veterans know they're appreciated,” he says.
Double Diamond also donated $1300 to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“There is a great need in the Reno area for having sponsors like Mike and Double Diamond Athletic Gym and getting the warriors out and active and just help out with the community,” says Michael Bente, of Wounded Warrior Project.
“Oh it's amazing that somebody in the community cares so much for our veterans,” adds Sarah Rodriguez, a military wife at the event.
Rodriguez's has three sons and a daughter, who say the presents will make for an extra merry Christmas.