‘Give the gift of you’
Published 10:23 am Tuesday, December 1, 2015
AHOSKIE – Over 100 people were on hand at No Man’s Land Park on Main Street on a warm fall night to officially light the Ahoskie Christmas Tree.
Ahoskie Mayor Byron Lassiter officiated the annual ceremony, held Saturday evening, to welcome the Christmas season to Ahoskie.
He welcomed Town Council members and other county elected officials before introducing the Rev. Richard Goodman, pastor of the Ahoskie Presbyterian Church, to provide the invocation, in which asked God for “peace and good will for all.”
Lassiter then introduced Miss North Carolina 2015, Kate Peacock of Dunn.
She thanked the audience for welcoming her “so warmly” and said she had enjoyed her first visit to Ahoskie.
The featured speaker for the evening was Tommy Hurdle, an Ahoskie businessman, writer, and performer with The Gallery Theater.
Hurdle’s theme for the evening was, “What if Every Day was Like Christmas.”
“I love Ahoskie,” Hurdle said. “I love the arts in our area, so I try to support that in any way possible. I’m honored to be invited to speak tonight.”
He said he fondly remembers Christmases in Ahoskie when he was a child when the Christmas parades were huge and Main Street was thriving. He is now working with others to revitalize Main Street.
His theme for the evening was, “Why can’t every day be like Christmas?
“All year long, give the gift of you,” Hurdle said. “Those are truly the best gifts.”
Make memories, he said. “Give to someone in need that you can personally take a vested in. See how your generosity, your time or talent or whatever you can offer them, can help them as a person.”
He said, for example, the he works with HIV positive children through an organization in Virginia.
“We work with them through the year to make their lives special,” Hurdle said, “and we see them every year grow and see babies grow up to graduate high school and living with something that would have killed them.
“We give, but we get so much more back,” he said. “Give more than just finances. Finances are need, but that personal touch makes a big difference.”
Hurdle also encouraged the audience to commit random acts of kindness, such as paying for the meal of the person behind you in a restaurant just to make them smile.
“Practice acts of kindness in the face of adversity,” he said. “Sometimes people have really bad days and don’t treat you very kind, but if you give them that kindness back, you can turn that person’s day around.”
He said that being kind and generous of yourself makes every day a little more like the spirit of Christmas.
Quoting lyrics from an Elvis Presley song, Hurdle said, “What a wonderful world that would be.”
The recently formed Ahoskie Community Choir, under the direction of the Rev. Goodman, then performed several carols of the Christmas season.
The mayor then had his children flip the switch to light this year’s magnificent Christmas tree.
Shortly thereafter, an Ahoskie fire truck, lights flashing, brought Santa and Mrs. Claus to No Man’s Land to visit with the many small children gathered for the annual and much anticipated event.