The holiday season often presents a great opportunity for people and businesses to help others who are less fortunate. We are often moved by the spirit of giving and try to make this special time of year for everyone.
Mr. Transmission owners Lowell and Cindy Hester are a great example of this desire to help others in their community around the holidays. They participated in their local Toys for Tots campaign, which is a program that distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to purchase Christmas gifts. This year the Hesters filled the box with 50 toys and $250 in donations for deserving children in the Atlanta area.
"Just the thought of kids not having something for Christmas is heartbreaking,” said Cindy. “It is rewarding to be able to reach out to others for their support and know you’re are doing something for a good cause."
It marked the second straight year Cindy and Lowell offered their Sandy Springs, Georgia store as one of the drop-off locations for toys. In addition to providing children with some extra holiday cheer, the Hesters are also carrying on a legacy of a dear friend.
That friend is the late “Captain” Herb Emory, who was a long-time, beloved traffic reporter with WSB Radio in Atlanta, known around the city for flying in a helicopter and reporting on the conditions below. He passed away in 2014 from a massive heart attack shortly after helping direct traffic around an accident not far from his home. The Hesters had been friends with Herb and his wife, Karen, for more than 30 years.
“We were quite devasted when he lost him, as everyone was,” Cindy Hester said. “He gave back to the community in so many ways.”
One of those causes that Herb championed was Toys for Tots. Every year, he would host a huge fundraiser at a restaurant near his home to promote the Toys for Tots campaign. Karen continues the fundraiser now known as the Capt. Herb Emory Memorial Toys for Tots Drive & Ride.
“People have carried on Herb’s memory with Toys for Tots after his passing, and Lowell and I thought we should be part of the campaign,” Cindy says. “We want to honor him and help make Christmas a bit more enjoyable for those who are less fortunate.”
The Hesters spread the word about the toy drive through social media and their internal e-mail database. They also approached other local businesses to help support the campaign as well as other friends and store customers. The Hesters and the Sandy Springs Mr. Transmission team also shopped for gifts to contribute to the toy drive.
Repairing cars may be what drives their business, but Cindy said, “we’re not just about repairing cars. Helping others is important to us. What better time of year to help a child than at Christmas? We are doing this for the pure joy in our hearts when we are able to give something to kids.”
Cindy also acknowledged the joy is mixed with a tinge of sadness.
“It’s bittersweet to see Karen in the middle of this campaign to preserve and carry on Herb’s memory. It is special to us because he was a special guy. He was quiet and low-key, but after you met and talked to him, you came away feeling like you were the most important person in the world.”
The Hesters embody the spirit of giving back to their community with their generous support of the Toys for Tots campaign. They are also keeping alive the memory of their late friend, Herb Emory, and his mission of helping local children around the holidays.