Christmas came early again this year for the elementary school kids of Lincoln County by way of Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, Nevada.
For each of the past four years, Ellis, owner and CEO of R&S Investment Properties LLC, has donated a pair of shoes, two pair of socks and toys to each of the students at each of the elementary schools in the county. The company does it in Clark County as well. Overall, he said this is the 13th year for the shoe donations.
On Friday, Dec. 2, Ellis and some of his helpers delivered the items to Pahranagat, Caliente and Panaca Elementaries. Pioche made their pickup at Panaca Elementary. The school kids had been measured for shoe sizes back in September.
“We enjoy coming up here because the people are so friendly,” Ellis said. “It’s just an atmosphere different than Clark County.”
Jim Gibson, former mayor of Henderson, Greg Blackburn, Assistant City Manager in Henderson and long time family friend Jimmy Robinson also came along to help.
“This is our Christmas,” Ellis explained. “It’s a great feeling to see the smiling faces of these kids, teachers and staff. They are so great. You can’t believe the thank you letters and pictures we get from students, teachers, even parents. In some cases, this might be the only Christmas present a child might receive. Sandy and I read every letter.”
There are 15 schools that Ellis delivers items to in both counties. “We picked up another five this year,” he said. Following the deliveries in Lincoln County Dec. 2, the team was going to Laughlin, Searchlight, and on Dec. 5 to Sandy Valley.
He said at a Christmas theme assembly in Sandy Valley, the Honorable Eric and Susan Johnson, Clark County District Court Judges, served as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
“To see the smiling faces is reward enough for us.”
He said the whole enrollment at the elementary students in Lincoln County are only half the enrollment of what C.T. Sewell Elementary in Henderson alone is, so there are lots of shoes and toys to purchase for the Vegas/Henderson schools they serve.
“This a way for us to show that there are people who really care about the rural areas,” Ellis said. “The friendships we have developed up here means a lot to us.”
Payless Shoes is the supplier for the shoes and socks. They had a staff of workers who came with Ellis in September when the foot measurements were made. “Target is the supplier for the toys, and we had another company from Florida involved also with us this year,” he said.
He added, “We include socks with the shoes, because if your feet are cold, you’re cold, you can’t get warmed up.”