The first time Tennessee state FFA officer Rebekah Wright heard about the Santa Train, she was a bit unsure.
“I was excited yet nervous because I was not sure what to expect. I knew I was about to get on a train and serve different communities in different states, but I was definitely not prepared for what was in store!”
The 71st Santa Train – a community service initiative of CSX – kicked off in Pikeville, Ky., in November. Traveling 110 miles through Appalachia, the train made 14 stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee where FFA members stood alongside CSX Transportation employees and Santa Claus, giving away over 15 tons of toys to families. CSX organizes the event annually and teamed up with Dignity U Wear, Food City and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce to make this one of the best years yet.
CSX Transportation is a platinum level supporter of the National FFA Foundation and takes advantage of every opportunity to invite blue jackets to events they sponsor. This year, two state FFA officers from Tennessee (Wright) and Kentucky (Bobby Joe Monhollen), and Kylah Reynolds from National FFA Foundation had the chance to experience this magical event.
Both FFA officers experienced the highs and lows of emotion throughout the day.
“There were many different types of emotions that I felt,” Monhollen said. “Some that just showed me how lucky I was to have everything that I have. And then other times I broke down in tears from feeling so sad for the kids and the way they had to live.”
Rebekah and Bobby Joe already know how important community is, but they were able to see community from a different angle thanks to the opportunity to serve with CSX in these Appalachian communities.
If you would like to learn more about the annual Santa Train, please visit http://www.teamsantatrain.org/.