People from Paris and beyond pulled together over the past two weeks to make sure 91-year-old Georgia Heuser, known by many as Miss Georgia, had a Christmas she will never forget.
It started with Lamar County Human Resources Council’s Executive Director, Shelly Braziel’s, Gifts of Love program. Each year, Meals on Wheels recipients are given a form to fill out. It includes questions such as age, favorite color, hobbies, etcetera. A card with each of their answers is distributed throughout town, where Parisians can select a card that touches them and fulfill that person’s Christmas wish.
“When the Gifts of Love forms are turned in, I personally read every single one of them and they all touch me,” Braziel said. “While every card is special, it seems there is always one each year that jumps out at me and tugs at my heart a little more than the rest. We choose one each year and we call it our Christmas Memories gift.”
This year, Braziel chose Miss Georgia to receive the Christmas Memories gift. Miss Georgia had a simple request: Christmas cards and phone calls; she wanted to know someone was thinking of her. After some research, Braziel said Miss Georgia didn’t have much family left. That’s when Braziel challenged the community to fill a 3-foot Santa sack with Christmas cards — and her challenge was accepted.
On Friday, Braziel, along with other volunteers from Meals on Wheels, including Santa Claus himself, surprised Miss Georgia with not one, but two 3-foot sacks filled with more than 1,600 cards.
“In those two sacks, people from Paris, outside of Paris, Sherman — all over the place have brought over 1,600 Christmas cards just for you,” Braziel said.
“Oh, my goodness,” Miss Georgia said, hand covering her mouth in shock. “I don’t even know 1,600 people.”
One by one, Braziel began reading cards to Miss Georgia. From school children to adults, Miss Georgia listened and cried tears of joy.
“Thank you all so much and God bless you all,” she said.
Miss Georgia wasn’t the only one to receive a Gift of Love, either. Hundreds of volunteers spent Friday delivering other Gifts of Love to Meals on Wheels recipients.
“This was an amazing year for LCHRC, Gifts of Love and Miss Georgia,” Braziel said. “We could not have done it without the amazing people in my community. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”