• 86°

Helping put the ‘icing on the cake’ this holiday season

Family reaches out to community for help to
stuff stockings for veterans

By Brittany Fuller
Brittany.fuller@jessaminejournal.com
Heidi Middleton is reaching out to the Jessamine County community in hopes to fill stockings for all 170 deserving veterans in Wilmore this holiday season.
The idea came to Heidi after Veteran’s Day earlier this month. Every year, Heidi and her children visit their PaPaw Jerry for the holiday to enjoy a meal together. During their visit, Heidi says she strives to relay the importance of the day and their family history in the military to her children.
“To them, they know what I’ve told them about their own family, but not what others have gone through,” Heidi said. “What it means to sacrifice leaving your family. How it impacts your life in the long run.”
For Heidi, she believes there is so much more residents can teach children about the importance of Veteran’s Day. Coming across the Wilmore Veteran’s Day event this year, Heidi joined in the festivities and looked at the event as a perfect teaching opportunity. After the parade, she joined others from the community at Tompson-Hood for hot chocolate and a cookie not knowing how her children would perceive the event and if they would be bored.
“The kids on the other hand, were so excited,” Heidi said. “My daughter (June) couldn’t stop talking about the ceremony and how interesting it was. I looked at her in disbelief (because) usually a young child, I would’ve thought, didn’t hear any of the speech. (She) really tuned in and absorbed the mayor and other speakers. Her and Brantley (Heidi’s son) before getting out of the parking lot started coming up with ways we could give back to the men and women.”
That conversation blossomed into an idea which has now grown. Heidi has called the venture “Stockings for your Service,” and is currently collecting supplies to fill stockings to hand out to all Tompson-Hood veterans this holiday season.
“It’s really important to make someone feel special, especially since they put their life in danger for our country,” June Middleton, Heidi’s daughter, said.
Brantley, her son, also agrees stating, “They protected us and since they served our country I want to give back and give thanks to them.”
From now until Dec. 12, Heidi will be collecting items to go in each stocking which will be hand delivered Dec. 21 at 2 p.m in Wilmore. Items can be dropped off at Brookside Elementary School located at 199 Brookside Drive, or mailed to P.O. Box 763, Nicholasville, Ky 40356.
Items being collected include travel sizes of the following: deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, bath soap, tooth paste, toothbrush, combs, hair spray; non-slip (preferred) socks; playing cards; thank you/Christmas cards; fruit snacks (sugar free); candy (sugar free) and Slim Jims. Heidi collected ideas for what to fill the stockings with by talking with the activities director at Tompson-Hood.
If Heidi receives more than expected and has extra donated items to spare, she has special plans on how to use the donated items.
“We would love to not only give the filled stockings to the vets here at home in Wilmore, but send any more than the 170 (we need) across seas to the current veterans who are still serving our country,” Heidi said.
Everybody deserves to feel special, and not just during the holiday season. Heidi said veterans are no exception.
“Our vets are the icing on the cake. They deserve to feel not just special but appreciated and never forgotten,” Heidi said. “I’m simply an average person, trying to help fulfill my kids’ mission and that has certainly pierced my heart and inspired me to do all I can to make this happen.”
For more information, email Heidi.middleton87@gmail.com