News of Angel Tree’s needs touches sponsor 750 miles away

Felicia Gatson-Johnson was having her morning coffee and reading the USA Today during a business trip to Lincoln, Neb., when she was moved by a story about an Angel Tree in need of help 750 miles away in Arkansas.

The Associated Press distributed the SAU press release stating that the Columbia County Angel Tree extended its deadline because of children still needing sponsors.

“When I read that, I was moved. It deeply touched my heart, and I wanted to do something to help,” said Gatson-Johnson, who lives in the Greater Denver, CO area, but has family 35 miles from Magnolia in El Dorado.

Johnson mailed $1,000 to the Columbia County Angel Tree, a gift on behalf of her and her son, Drake Gatson-Johnson. She said that the gift is in memory of her late parents, Rev. Cleo Gatson and Mrs. Alene Delois Paige-Gatson.

“My parents were wonderful, and I was so blessed to have them,” said Gatson-Johnson. “They really showed how to love and care for your neighbors, a lesson that I strive to live each day.”

Johnson said that with all that is going on in the country right now, it’s nice to be reminded that people do care.

“Children are so precious, and I want them to know that someone is thinking about them…even 750 miles away” said Gatson-Johnson.

Johnson’s gift will brighten the holidays for 20 children, according to a grateful Sandra Smith, SAU’s dean of students and director of housing.

Johnson was not the only person moved by the published news story. Smith said that a $150 check arrived from former residents of nearby Waldo. Greers Chapel Church in Magnolia also put a check for $1,000 in the mail to the Angel Tree.