Santa dropped in for a special party

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Ross and Marcy Kelly receive the Jim Kelly Distinguished Service Award from Linkville Kiwanis Immediate Past President Melissa Clinton.

Straight off of two spectacular weeks of the Snowflake Festival, Santa made a special trip back to Klamath Falls Wednesday for a local children’s Christmas party.

The Linkville Kiwanis party for children with disabilities has been a club favorite since at least the mid-1970s. No one can remember when it began, but one partner has stood the test of time. The Kelly family, who have owned the Klamath Falls McDonald’s franchise since 1999, have made an indelible mark on the celebration.

The Kellys’ late patriarch Jim, looked forward to the party each year, and Linkville Kiwanis recently recognized his family with the first-ever Jim Kelly Distinguished Service Award.

Jim Kelly was a service-oriented example of civic-mindedness, who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross during his service in Vietnam. Those who knew Jim would agree that he never sought the limelight but was always there to cheer on others. He was extremely generous with his time, energy and assets. He always enjoyed pitching in on a project and was often the first to arrive and the last to leave.

In previous years, the Kellys provide the meals for the families in attendance. This year, a new approach was taken, with McDonald’s providing drinks and cookies for the occasion and a special gift of a Happy Meal gift certificate for each child. The children will be able to visit one of the local restaurants, and prolong the joy of the celebration.

Epicenter and Kiwanis worked together to provide pizza for those in attendance. As always, Santa mysteriously knew what each child desired as a present. The 28 children are students at Conger and Stearns elementary schools.

Kiwanis clubs, located in 80 nations, help their communities in countless ways. Each community’s needs are different—so each Kiwanis club is different. By working together, members achieve what one person cannot accomplish alone. When you give a child the chance to learn, experience, dream, grow, succeed and thrive, great things happen.

Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis club, no matter where in the world it’s located. Members stage nearly 150,000 service projects and raise nearly $100 million every year for communities, families and projects.

There are two Kiwanis clubs in the Klamath area: Linkville Kiwanis and Klamath Falls Kiwanis.

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