For most of us, the holidays are a time to gather with loved ones and count our blessings.
Unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone.
There are many in our area who experience a real need and find it difficult to put food on the table or presents under the tree.
That's why it's comforting to know that Sgt. Scott Misenheimer and the Davidson Police and Fire departments work hard throughout the year to make certain that the holidays are bright for all families in town.
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The Davidson Police and Fire Department Angel Tree started eight years ago at St. Mark's Catholic Church.
In 2006, the tree was moved to South Main Square in Davidson, then last year to its current home in the Town Hall Rotunda.
In addition, the town partnered with St. Alban's Episcopal Church and split the tags among the two locations.
Over the years, Misenheimer was instrumental in identifying needy families who could benefit from the Angel Tree.
A 21-year veteran of the Davidson Police Department, Misenheimer knows the people of Davidson and their situations well. He has developed relationships with folks and knows that many are in unfortunate situations, especially in this difficult economy.
"Last year we served 36 families, this year we're up to over 50," he said. "I can't imagine being a parent, having small kids and not being able to provide for them. Since I'm out in the community, I have a real good idea who needs help."
Misenheimer lends a hand to other community projects as well.
He recently took a group of kids out for the "Shop with a Cop" program, where children ages 5 to 15 were able to buy presents for their parents at Target and Kohl's.
The teen council at the Davidson Parks and Recreation department helped to plan the event, which was made possible from a generous donation from the Caring Hearts Foundation. Misenheimer said that many of the kids bought their parents basic items, such as robes and coffeepots. It was rewarding to see the event happen, as many of the children could not have otherwise bought gifts.
Misenheimer also helps coordinate and deliver Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to those in need and coordinates a bicycle recycling program, which runs throughout the year
"If you've got an old bike that I can fix up and get out there, drop it off at the fire department," he said. "Every kid needs a bike."
Mayor pro tem Margo Williams, who has known Misenheimer since she was elected in 1995, had the highest words of praise for her friend.
"Scott is the kind of person who doesn't turn away from problems," she said. "He looks at them head on and comes up with a solution. He's a real family person; I think that's why he's drawn to families and wants to work and help them. He's very special, humble and I admire him deeply. I'm so proud that he is a Davidson police officer."
Both Misenheimer and Williams also pointed out that none of the programs would be possible without the other officers in the department.
"These are good officers who really care about this community," Misenheimer said.
The Davidson Fire Department and the Ada Jenkins Center also are essential to these charitable causes.
Misenheimer also credits the people who live here.
"If any community is responsive, it's Davidson," he said. "The people here really, really try."