by Bill Neal, For New Pittsburgh Courier
Given that Christmas is a numbers game (you know, the whole how many children, how many toys, how much time to get it done thing), let’s start with the numbers. They truly speak to a Christmas Miracle!
More than 425 vehicles of all kinds, shapes and sizes…over 800 children received toys…over 1,200 toys given away…and over 400 Boost Mobile backpacks! Doesn’t get any merrier than that!
That being said, let us not get it twisted. This wonder-day was not only Santa’s doing. The event was made possible by the collective effort of some of the community’s most notable icons. Achieving Greatness Inc., formerly Champion Enterprises, launched its 46th consecutive Toys for Champions Christmas Party and Toy Giveaway.
They were joined once again by the horsepower of the Elite Corvette Club of Pittsburgh, Senator Jay Costa, Boost Mobile, Chuck Sanders Charities, Goodrich & Geist Law Firm, UPMC, Diversified Municipal Services, Cosmos Technologies, Cameron Professional Management, Attorney Jack Goodrich, Tykes Auto Service, Walmart, the Office of the Chief Executive of Allegheny County, Tatar Podiatry, Coach Ace Brueggerman, MAM Communications and Briggs Transportation Company.
Now that may seem like a long list to call attention to but believe it or not, those are the “The Big Deer.” There is a much longer list to acknowledge but time or space truly won’t allow for it. However, if I want to see Christmas next year, I had better send out a North Star salute to the ladies of the Elite Corvette Club. They were truly the force behind the movement, the love, trust and support of “The Fold,” a Penn Hills-based church that donated their parking lot and property.
And for you non-believers, there is a Santa Claus, and we know it’s true because you see him right in the photos.
The muscle of the men of Elite, the presence of Mad Dads and the Achieving Greatness staff, the generosity of coach Al Smith and his distribution of over 250 backpack and jacket combos and once again the support of Penn Hills Mayor Pauline Calabrese and State Representative Tony DeLuca; thank you so much again.
What cannot be lost in this enormous undertaking are the things that we sometimes take for granted…like the blessings from above that turned what looked to be a shutdown snowstorm into a winter wonderland, those Elite members that showcased their corvettes in spite of the weather so the community could be sure of their level of commitment, Senator Jay Costa giving up his Sunday afternoon while the world is in political, social and medical crisis, Coach Jeff, whose warmth comes from his heart as well as his well-known hot dog grill, the snow plowers that saved the day not once but twice, and last and certainly not least, the trust and trouble-free participation of the parents and children that braved the cold…stayed in line patiently…and gave love as they departed.
As we conclude another year of dedicated community service, we say thank you to all, a very Merry Christmas and blessed and Happy New Year to all!!!!
That being said, now would be a good time to give you some background information. The Elite Corvette Club of Pittsburgh is a newly established group of men and women who own, race and showcase some of the most magnificent vehicles known to man. With that, they share a mindset to not only operate in the Pittsburgh and Allegheny communities, but to provide a community service as well.
Thus, the partnership was established with Achieving Greatness Incorporated. As many of you know, AGI, formerly known as Champion Enterprises, is now in its 46th consecutive year of providing community service programs and events. Most notably, the nationally recognized Connie Hawkins Summer Basketball League, Franco Harris All-Pro Football Camp, Willie Stargell MVP Awards Banquet and The Pittsburgh City League High School All-Sports Hall of Fame Inductions.