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Gift of giving

By Staff
Club carries on holiday tradition
Jonathan Willis
Willie Hillman's face lit up with pride Saturday morning as a group of men from her community presented her with a fruit basket.
It was no ordinary group of men.
The Franklin-Civic Social Club, which was founded by her late husband Robert Hillman, were carrying on a 16-year holiday tradition.
Following Robert Hillman's death last spring, the club's members took it upon themselves to carry on with distributing holiday fruit baskets and turkeys, something they had been doing since 1992.
"This is one of the days that dad really, really treasured," Robert Hillman Jr. said.
The club accepts donations that allows them to purchase the baskets and turkeys which are given out each year to families in need.
This year, the group also helped seven families purchase Christmas gifts for their children.
"It is just a way for us to help the elderly and the single parents and anyone else who needs our help at Christmas," club member Allen Rorer said.
"Robert's goal was to help as many people as possible and that's what we've tried to do."
Several of the club members said they had been touched this year by the willingness of others to help them.
"We have had people who are on fixed incomes themselves give to us so we could help others," Rorer said.
That willingness to help others is what attracted Brian McGuire to the club. As one of the group's newest members, McGuire said he had been looking forward to the Christmas project.
"I am just glad to be able to give back to the community," he said.
Don Willingham, who has been with the club for several years, said the look on people's faces as they are given a gift is a reward in itself.
"It's nice to see people react when they know that someone is thinking about them," he said.