13th annual "A Buccaneer Christmas" helps create memories
Women's soccer player Thomai Vardali gives a Christmas gift to one of the many children in attendance at
Women's soccer player Thomai Vardali gives a Christmas gift to one of the many children in attendance at "A Buccaneer Christmas."

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Annual holiday event proves enjoyable for kids and student-athletes alike

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 3, 2013) - Continuing a tradition spanning more than a decade, the ETSU Athletic Department held its annual  "A Buccaneer Christmas" Tuesday, Dec. 3, an event aimed at spreading Christmas spirit to children in the Johnson City community. The annual event helped put smiles on the faces of more than 60 local children in attendance, as well as the many ETSU student-athletes who took part in the festivities.

In conjunction with Coalition for Kids, children from around the Johnson City community were able to enjoy a night full of activities, including meeting Santa, decorating Christmas cookies, opening gifts, and mingling with ETSU student-athletes.

"It is a terrific way for us to reach out to the community and help children experience the Christmas spirit," ETSU Women's Soccer Assistant Coach Debs Brereton said.

As the event unfolded, it wasn't just the children enjoying themselves. Before long, the MSHA Athletic Center was filled with laughter from kids and student-athletes alike.

"That's what it's supposed to be," Director of Football Operations Lee Morrow said. "Once our student-athletes see these kids have fun, it's kind of what Christmas is all about. What we are trying to do is make these kids feel special."

Pizza from Fox's Pizza Den was given out to all children in attendance, in addition to toys donated by ETSU fans and local businessman Clarence Mabe.

Following another successful year of the long-running ETSU tradition, women's soccer player Tori Head believes gathering the food and toys is a small price to pay in order to help create memories for local children.

"Putting a smile on a child's face is truly priceless," Head said.

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