Over the past years, the Indian River Volunteer Fire Co. in conjunction with County Bank, Long Neck Elementary School, the Boys & Girls Club of Oak Orchard-Riverdale, the Community Church of Oak Orchard, the members of the Nanticoke Indian Association and many other corporate and community partners, has fostered a yearly campaign to generate gifts, clothing, food and other family necessities for local residents who may have fallen on unfortunate times. They have also annually participated in the Grotto Pizza Parade of Trees to generate resources for favorite charities.
This year is no exception. The IRVFC has collaborated with all of the aforementioned partners as well as formed a mutual agreement to rename the annual toy drive to Nana’s Kid Campaign.
This Nana’s Kid Campaign is considered a tradition of goodwill to honor Dorothy Gudger, affectionately known as Nana amongst her dearest loved ones. She was an extremely generous woman who gave unselfishly to many community children and organizations, shopping all year long for needed items such as toys, clothing, coats, etc. for children and their families who benefited from the County Bank and IRVFC annual drives.
Pam Shockley, a County Bank teller at the Long Neck Branch, said, "Mrs. Gudger was the epitome of what the spirit of Christmas is about. For as long as I can remember, she always made sure kids had gifts to open on Christmas by donating to the fire company toy drive. Her kindness, gentle and giving spirit, and love of all people were blessings to all of us. Dottie has instilled that same spirit into her grandchildren, who now carry on her legacy of donating toys to the fire company toy drive campaign. We just felt that it was important to remember and honor Dottie at this time.”
Gudger was raised in foster care during her later teens and personally chose this annual drive to be her favorite charity. Her sudden demise was a great shock and tragic loss to the local community.
The IRVFC urges residents to honor their memories of Dorothy Gudger and contribute to the Nana’s Kid Campaign via donation receptacles at County Bank or through the Parade of Trees at Grotto Pizza - Long Neck. These contributions will support the various local charities and preserve the memory of Dorothy Gudger.
Donations collected at the Grotto Long Neck location for County Bank’s tree will be given to the Indian River Volunteer Fire Co. in honor of Gudger so the firemen can continue Gudger’s acts of generosity through contributions to needy children in local communities.
“We encourage everyone to stop in at any of the participating Grotto locations and take part in this wonderful tradition,” said Shockley. “There are so many great and deserving charities being sponsored and some beautifully decorated trees too. But,” adds Shockley with a smile, “you can probably guess which tree is my favorite!”