Let me begin this article by introducing myself, My name is LeeAnna Maguire and I am the property manager at Iron Gate Mega Storage in Orchards, Vancouver WA. I am the author of the Iron Gate Storage blogs and have enjoyed writing every one of them. In articles past I have written about the history of Vancouver WA, Beaverton OR, local small businesses, and the charities that Iron Gate Storage sponsors. This month I decided to write an article based on my own very personal story.
When I was a child my family was very poor, my parents couldn’t even afford to pay for electricity and the amenities that electricity brings. My Father was very ill and though he was employed with a construction company, he was rarely able to work. My Mother worked 2 sometimes 3 jobs in order pay for my Father’s medical bills and to keep a roof over our heads. Needless to say Christmas in our house was sparse to say the least. However with adversity comes the opportunity to meet true heroes and that is what this story is all about.
I was eight years old and my sister was six, it was December 24th and to us that meant very little. My Father’s employer was a Middle Eastern man and his wife’s family did not approve of their marriage so consequently when she visited her family for the holidays, he was not permitted to join her and their children. He was alone on a holiday that he did not celebrate, a holiday that meant nothing to him personally. He was a very tall, thin, soft spoken man that I had only met once. I do not remember his name or the name of his company; however I will never forget his face.
My Mother had long left for work, my Father lay very ill in his bedroom, and my sister and I were starting the fire in the wood burning stove to start breakfast. There was a knock at the door, which was not out of the ordinary; we had many neighbors that would come to check on us while Mom was at work. I got up and opened the door expecting to see a peer from down the street or the elderly woman who lived next door, but instead I found a large pile of big black garbage bags. I stepped out to look in the driveway and here was this tall, thin man with only a slightly familiar face, arms filled with more garbage bags. I knew he was Father’s boss, so I told him that my Father was very ill and hadn’t left his bed in days. The man softly said “I know, but I am here to see you and your sister”. Truth be told, I was a little frightened, what did this man want with my sister and me? I, being a polite little girl, helped the man carry in the remaining bags and place them in the living room. He went to walk out the door again, but this time he kindly motioned for me to stay. A few minutes past and I could hear that he was having trouble with something, but I stayed. After a moment he returned, dragging behind him the most beautiful Christmas tree I had ever seen, or have seen since. He stood it up in the stand and instructed us to open a specific bag. As we ripped into the bag tinsel, lights and boxes of ornaments came bursting forth, everything you could ever need to decorate a perfect Christmas tree.
We began to decorate with such elation that to this day the memory renders me tearful. This man hardly spoke a word; he simply smiled and carried a couple of smaller bags into the kitchen. This man, whom I call Santa because regretfully I do not remember his name, spent his day cooking us a Christmas feast. The remaining six garbage bags were full of brand new clothes, shoes, and toys. We received jackets and rain boots, coloring crayons and books, chemistry sets and Legos, pants, sweaters, new toothbrushes and play makeup and dress clothes. He had not only gifted us entire new wardrobes, but had also arranged with my Mother’s 3 employers for her to have Christmas Day off and gifted my Mother what she said was a large sum of cash, though now I know it was a couple hundred dollars to cover what she would have earned working on Christmas Day.
On a day that meant nothing to this man culturally or religiously, on a day when this man could have chosen to feel bitter about the prejudice from his wife’s family, on this day this man decided instead to give not just things and money, not just the best Christmas I have ever enjoyed, but hope; he gave me the foundation of who I have become. He taught me that bitterness and differences do not matter when you have the opportunity to make a child smile.
Every year Iron Gate Mega Storage on 117th has a coat, clothing, blanket, and food drive starting November 1st; though you can drop a donation off at any Iron Gate Storage location at any time of the year. For the second year in a row every Iron Gate Storage is a donation location for the KGW Great Toy Drive starting on November 12th. I am aware that few have the resources that this man had, however I am also aware that it doesn’t take an entire Christmas feast, Christmas tree and trimmings, or 6 garbage bags full of gifts in order to brighten someone’s holiday. Very small donations still bring very large smiles and grateful hearts. This year please consider bringing a new, unwrapped toy into an Iron Gate Storage location. If this is not in your budget then please dig through your pantry for that can of food you will never eat, or the back of your closet for that jacket that just no longer fits. Everyone has something hidden in their home that they can offer. So please make the effort to help shape a giving nature and offer hope to a child this holiday season.
Please stop by any Iron Gate Storage location to make a donation of food, clothing, coats, blankets, or toy. Other KGW Great Toy Drive donation locations include any Regence Hospital location, any area Toyota Dealership, and all local Wells Fargo locations. Whatever you can give will make a huge difference in someone’s life, trust me I am very aware of what charity can do for a small child and his/her family.
We at Iron Gate Storage deeply appreciate your generosity.
Iron Gate Mega Storage Manager