Savings accounts equate to Christmas cheer

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By Jeff M. Hardison

About 26 years ago, Heath Davis of Cedar Key remembers going to his first Christmas party as a 4-year-old child with a savings account at Drummond Community Bank in Cedar Key.

Today, he works at the Cedar Key branch of the bank. From the perspective of fun, however, he brought Santa Claus to Chiefland on Nov. 30 for the annual party, which included generations of happy partygoers.

"Every now and then, Santa Claus stops by Cedar Key to get oysters," Davis said. "He uses his seaplane sometimes because the reindeer get hot at any other time of the year, other than Christmas. They only fly throughout the world on Christmas Eve, because that's when they help Santa deliver gifts."

Davis said he was unable to explain just exactly how Santa Claus made it to Chiefland for the annual party for children with savings accounts at Drummond Community Bank, but he was happy to see the fun event happen without a hitch that Friday afternoon.

Bank President Luther Drummond said this annual event and the annual Easter egg hunt are for children with savings accounts at the bank.

The children at the Nov. 30 party enjoyed refreshments, saw Santa and listened to live entertainment.

Among the performers were Nadine Deas and her great-great niece Tenlee Beauchamp, who each played piano, and Rick Gordon, who played guitar while his granddaughter Kinsey Ward sang.

The bank helps youngsters beyond the youths with savings accounts, Drummond said. He explained how the "Angel Christmas Tree" provides a medium in the lobby for people to select a child to help.

A guidance counselor at Chiefland Elementary School writes the age and gender of children who might not have much of a Christmas on paper cutout angels, Drummond said. The children list what they want. Some ask for sneakers, shirts or other clothes. Some ask for bicycles. At least one asked for a robot.

Donors select an angel, buy the gift, put the angel tag on the wrapped box and then the gifts go back to CES for distribution around Christmas Eve, Drummond said.

This way, no one but the guidance counselor knows the children's identity.

The annual fun, music, refreshments and visit with Santa Claus was a resounding success, and children who were helped through the gift program are bound to enjoy some of the spirit of joy on Christmas as well.