Spotlight on: Winter Wonderland with Santa Toy Drive

Christina Stock Photo Robert Tynes, Managing Director of Westlake ACE Hardware, is seen here next to the donated grill which will be raffled off. All proceeds will go to the first Winter Wonderland Toy Drive, which is supported by the Emperors Riding Club.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

New fundraiser will benefit area elementary school students

By Christina Stock

Vision editor

Westlake ACE Hardware and Emperor’s Riding Club are hosting their first Winter Wonderland themed toy drive fundraiser with Santa on December 11 from 10 a.m. to noon.

In previous years, the hardware store provided space for various charitable groups to raise funds during the holidays. It’s always like that.

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When asked why the store decided to host its own event, general manager Robert Tynes said he was looking to support the children.

“For us, having our own event this year is something that excites me,” he said. “There are so many organizations in town that offer different benefits and work together as a team or as a network. Some of the organizations we contacted to support: The Boys & Girls Club, The (First) Tee. We are active with the Optimist Club. We are known to support anything with education, children. We are known to be individual community service.

Raffle tickets for a donated new pellet grill are also available at the store, and all funds will go towards the toy drive.

Although Tynes didn’t grow up in Roswell, his family and mother are from here. Tynes said that because his mother was worried about the pandemic, he left California to live with her.

In Roswell, Tynes got involved in several civic organizations. When he was preparing for the toy drive, he asked for help.

“The Emperors Riding Club came over and said they would like to help,” he said. The biker club was founded in 2019 and is known to be family oriented. Its members come from all walks of life and include business leaders such as Maribel “Bella” Ochoa, owner of Laura’s Cafe and founding member of the club.

“It’s not very often that you see a small group of people capable of making a difference in our community,” Ochoa wrote in a post. “Our goal is just that: to make a difference. We have teamed up with Westlake Ace Hardware this year to bring a Merry Christmas to some of our local elementary school students. It has been a difficult year for everyone and being able to show love and support during this time is sure to bring joy. We hope this will motivate others to do the same. Westlake Ace Hardware and Emperors Riding Club will continue to work together to build a better future for our community. Strong roots create a good base. We have just started. “

Regarding his committee’s decision to support elementary school students, Tynes said he spoke to elementary school principal and office assistant Nancy Lopez.

“They shared stories with me that really saddened me,” he said. “During the year of COVID, many parents struggled with their homes, incomes and jobs. So many parents struggle to give their children a good Christmas and keep the magic alive. This is what is important. It’s not getting; it is the act of giving. I feel like a lot of times we focus on getting and not giving. Keep this dream of Santa Claus alive, make them (the kids) have this dream. We chose Nancy Lopez, starting with pre-K.

Tynes said he is already making plans for next year’s fundraiser. “I hope next year we can do it a little differently, so that we can impact different schools as well.”

In an email, Dolores Ingram, Principal of Nancy Lopez Elementary School, wrote: “We at Nancy Lopez Elementary School are very grateful that Westlake has chosen to bless our pre-K students with gifts. for Christmas! Thank you, Rob Tynes, for giving back to the younger members of our community! It will be pure happiness to see them open gifts.

Tynes said that, by Thanksgiving, the store’s windows will be painted by local artists. On the day of the toy drive, the entrance will be transformed into a “winter wonderland” and Santa himself will be there.

“We will use this sled (located in the entrance of the store) for the children to sit down and see Santa Claus and give them a bag of treats with an apple, an orange, nuts and candy canes,” a Tynes said. “This will last a few hours, and then that night we will transport the winter wonderland to the Brotherly Eagles. They donated the room to us and we are going to create a winter paradise for adults. It is by invitation only. However, if there are people who would like to participate, we ask them to contact the store here for an invitation.

Tynes said the event requires invitations to ensure it is a safe and peaceful celebration and to recognize all who have helped.

“It will be a donation at the door with your invitation (to enter). We will have raffles every 30 minutes on small items. We will continue the raffle on the grill and then we will have other items that we will have a silent auction on. We will have a DJ. The Roswell Mounted Police Patrol will keep us safe. They gave of their time for this evening. I’m just trying to get a lot of it. I prefer to use all the money we’re trying to raise to go directly into what we’re trying to accomplish.

“I am very fortunate that so many people came to support us in our first year. I can imagine what next year will be like, plan ahead and already know what we’re trying to accomplish here, ”Tynes said.

Tynes added that he has many other plans to help children and young adults with education and empower them to reach their full potential.

Westlake Ace Hardware is located at 2810-D N. Main St. For more information visit westlakehardware.com or call 575-624-0550 or find Emperors Riding Club on Facebook @emperorsroswell.

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