Sometimes the smallest of us show us how we should be

Sometimes it’s the smallest of us who give the best example of what we should be.

Sabrina shows a gift she bought for her mom. She used a great deal of the money given to her through the Christmas with the Cops program to shop for her family, rather than herself. (Photo/Traci Chapman)

Sabrina shows a gift she bought for her mom. She used a great deal of the money given to her through the Christmas with the Cops program to shop for her family, rather than herself. (Photo/Traci Chapman)

In the last several days, I’ve been able to witness the best side of people – those of us who tirelessly work to help others. We know who they are – Mustang Masons, the Kiwanis, Mustang firefighters and police, just everyday individuals who work to make the world a better place for others. We are blessed in our community to have an abundance of these people, those who show us just how good people can be.

But sometimes those lessons come from an unexpected place, from those who you wouldn’t necessarily expect. That’s where Haylin, Greenlee and Sabrina come in.

Haylin Pettit is your typical 10-year-old. Filled with an abundance of energy and a flashing smile, just meeting Haylin for five minutes you can tell she’s the kind of kid you would be proud to call your own. While Haylin on any day seems to be a happy and caring child, last week she proved to be even more than that – she showed me just how much of a difference one person can make.

Haylin decided in June, after the May 31 tornado, she wanted to help people. She saw that some children might not have a Christmas because some of them didn’t even have a home left standing. While some kids might have had that great idea and then forgotten about it by the time their birthday rolled around in December, Haylin did not – she turned the idea into a merry Christmas for probably dozens of kids.

Haylin and her mother, Courtney spent 10 hours last Thursday at Mustang fire station, accepting donations for the department’s Santa’s Toy Shoppe. Giving up her own birthday gifts, Haylin asked that friends, family and the community instead bring toys for firefighters’ annual efforts – which at that time seemed to be falling short.

The community responded and in a big way. On Saturday, when firefighters and others distributed the toys they collected, parents were able to select several gifts for their children, children who otherwise might not have had a visit by Santa on Christmas Eve.

Haylin wasn’t the only one who gave of herself at a time when she could expect to be the gift recipient. Greenlee Lindsey also gave up her birthday presents in favor of others, holding a party at Yukon on Wheels and asking for presents to be donated to Toys for Tots. With an overflowing box of toys as the result, Greenlee helped a lot of children not only locally but throughout the state, who will have a gift because of her efforts.

It’s one small girl, however, who especially touched my heart. Her name is Sabrina and she was in a different position – she was the one being helped by others. Sabrina and three others, all boys, were part of the Christmas with a Cop program. Treated to a “fun” breakfast (her words) and pizza lunch, Sabrina and the three boys were accompanied by Mustang police officers to pick out gifts for Christmas.

Instead of buying gifts for herself – which a lot of kids would do in her place – Sabrina instead focused on her family. As she wrapped and prepared the presents, she showed off a necklace for her mom, clothes for her brother, items for others. This little girl not only gave of herself, she embodied the true spirit of Christmas without even knowing it.

“She is an amazing little girl who could teach a lot of us how to be giving and grateful for the things we have,” Detective Camie McNeil said.

Camie is right. Sabrina, Haylin and Greenlee did more than give gifts to others. They gave all of us who witnessed what they did the greatest gift of all – an example to live by, and a beacon of light that is what Christmas is supposed to be about.

From our family at Mustang News to yours, have a very Merry Christmas.