Children clapped, cheered and waved Monday when Santa brought up the rear of the golf cart parade. The commissioners, who are the governing board of the McCarty Center judged the contest for the best float.
Winning floats this year included a nutcracker float taking third place, put together by the therapy department earning a reward of $75. Second place went to the psychology department with their “Island of Misfit Toys” float earning a reward of $100. First place went to Unit Four of the hospital with an abominable snowman putting a star on top of a Christmas tree, earning a reward of $125.
All of the money for the prizes was donated by “The 40 et 8 of Oklahoma”, a veteran’s group which founded the center, and other donors.
Master of Lighting Ceremony
This year’s Master of Lights was Carolyn Harris, a retired educator of 40 years. As Harris pulled down the giant switch to light the 30-foot Christmas tree at the center, cheers and applause came from the whole crowd.
Harris said being part of the ceremony was about showing love to the children.
“You demonstrate that by continuing to be a part of their lives,” she said. “It’s always been about volunteering. People see me volunteering and I hope that inspires others to do the same.”
Harris said volunteering isn’t just for those with “gray hair” either.
“I choose to do this. It’s not that I just have nothing better to do,” she said.
The volunteerism is something that has become a part of her family as well. Harris said her own daughter was there with her one-month-old child to be part of the Christmas tradition and to show their support.
“She knows it means so much to me,” Harris said. “I come out here and give a donation to (the center) and my children do the same.”