The holiday season is off to a fantastic start in Pine.
Today, Friday, the annual Christmas Tree Auction will get under way at the school gym with a barbecue dinner, followed by the Christmas tree and quilt auction.
A barbecued pork dinner will be served from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.
The meal, to be expertly prepared by the popular Susie Q BBQ caterers, will be accompanied by cowboy beans, chips and a beverage for $5.
Scott Jacobson will begin the auction at 6:15 p.m.
The living Christmas trees, three-to-four-feet in height, will be lighted and decorated.
The trees, which are decorated by the students, will feature creations from the K-8 classrooms, special education, band, library, girls and boys' basketball teams and the administrative office.
Contributed quilts will also be auctioned.
Nancy Miller of Strawberry has donated a quilt with a Christmas theme.
Monica Hancock of Pine has contributed a beautiful machine-pieced bed quilt.
In addition to the Christmas trees being auctioned, holiday cards designed by students will be on sale.
Each class will offer a set of their cards for $10.00 per set or individual cards may be purchased for $1.00 each.
To add to the festivities, the Pine Strawberry School Band will be playing festive holiday music.
Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. No Christmas celebration would be complete unless the jolly, plump guy in the red suit makes an appearance. So, Santa will be in attendance with treats for the kids.
The community is encouraged to take part in this holiday fund raiser.
Plan to bring the family; you will have a delicious dinner and have the chance of taking home a festive Christmas tree or beautiful quilt.
And, by the way don't forget your checkbook, credit card or the old standby cash.
See you there.
All money earned will benefit the Pine Strawberry School.
Nativity display lights up culture center
While attending the Christmas tree auction, take a stroll over to the Pine Cultural Center and visit the nativity display. The event is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.
The display will also be open Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Music will add to the holiday ambience and refreshments will be served.
DPS Quilt Angels honored
Arizona Department of Public Safety officer and police instructor Vic McCrae, also a storyteller, made an appearance in the recent celebration.
He describes his visit as a genuine honor, "I'm glad I was able to represent DPS during the event when I presented a DPS Challenge Coin to the DPS Quilt Angels of Pine."
The coin commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the Arizona Highway Patrol.
Most often, the coins are given to officers by DPS Command Staff for recognition of accomplishments and extraordinary performance of their duty.
From time to time, civilians and non-department personnel are presented with a coin to recognize their efforts in assisting our agency in the accomplishment of its mission.
DPS Quilt Angels are continuing to build on the rich traditions established by the Arizona Quilters Guild in 1990.
Their mission is to skillfully hand and machine sew children's quilts which are distributed to Department of Public Safety Officers to carry in their patrol cars.
In cases of accidents and other unfortunate incidents, the officers comfort children with the quilts. DPS officers agree the quilts go a long way in soothing the emotions of scared and frightened children.Since 1990, the guild and the DPS Quilt Angels have made 5,014 quilts.
Not only have the quilts been given to the Department of Public Safety, but grateful recipients also include Pine and Strawberry Fire Departments, Payson Fire Department, Payson Police Department, Gila County Sheriffs Department, U.S. Forrest Service Law Enforce-ment, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Time Out Shelter, Red Cross, Native Air Helicopter, Tonto Apache Police Depart-ment and the Mazatzal Casino Police.
The Angels have also sewn dog beds for the Humane Society, a banner for the American Legion and have doled out quilts to be used as fund-raisers and door prizes to the Blood Drive, Pine Chili Challenge and Tellabration.
Last January, at the request of Maj. Troy Gilbert's family, the Angels began making memory quilts for each of his five children.
Maj. Gilbert, a fighter pilot stationed at Luke AFB was killed November 27 in Operation Iraqi Freedom when his F-16 C fighter crashed in Baghdad.
The quilts were made from his shirts including military uniforms and flight suits.The group designed the quilts, using what they could of his clothing and adding other materials and backing.
Although Ginger Gilbert had only asked for memory quilts for her children, being true angels, these ladies made a special quilt for her.
They called the quilt "Wrapped in Love," it features a design of red roses and a panel printed with the "Footsteps in the Sand" poem.
The six quilts were delivered in September to Mrs. Gilbert and her five children.
When talking with Willene Smith, the founder of the DPS Quilt Angels, about the quilts, it brought tears to my eyes and I am quite sure there are more than a few tears mixed with the stitches in these quilts.
Eddie Basha is well known around the state as a huge supporter of public education. Over the years, his family-owned Bashas' grocery chain has partnered with schools, churches, charities and other nonprofit organizations to support and improve Arizona's schools.
Most recently, one of the ways Bashas' will contribute to Pine Strawberry School is through participation in its community card program.
Diane Bowman is spearheading this fund-raiser for the school and has $50 initial cards for purchase. These are paid for with cash or check and may be used at Bashas', AJ's Fine Foods and Food City.
To purchase the initial cards, call Diane Bowman at (928) 476-3579.fter the first purchase, the cards can be recharged at any Bashas' store using cash, debit card or credit card for any amount desired.
With each purchase and each recharge, six percent of the price is donated to the school.
It's a very worthwhile program and requires only a small commitment of time and effort.
--Kay Foster is a columnist for the Payson Roundup.
Contact her with items for this column at (928) 476-2788 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.