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Holiday Surprises from David and Lesley West & George Hill

by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness

December 15, 2013

David and Lesley West surprised 113 students at Turning Point Christian School in Lawrence Township with a fun-filled evening to celebrate their performance at school.

Each high-achieving kid, ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade, received two toys and then his or her family was rewarded with a complete Holiday family meal to take home. In the bustling gymnasium, there was a coloring station, balloon artists, glitter tattoos, cookie decorating and an opportunity to take a picture with Boomer.

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Holiday Surprises

“We just feel like we’re very fortunate,” said David West. “Any time you can help – particularly young people. This is to honor the young people who’ve done well in school, and achieved. It sort of sends them a message of them doing well and they’re able to do things for their family.

Pacers television analyst and VP of Communications Quinn Buckner first introduced the West’s to Tim and Tanya Harris. Tim is the pastor, and Tanya is the school’s principal.

“We just fell in love with Turning Point — the community, the organization, the pastor, his wife,” said Lesley West. “This is the start of something that is definitely going to take place year after year.”

The West’s are very active in the community. David visits juvenile correction facilities twice a year and has put his name on the Pacers’ “Come to Our House” Thanksgiving dinner. Lesley has done a number of things, with her annual prom dress giveaway to high school girls being the most prevalent.

Before joining the Pacers and moving to Indianapolis, the West’s worked with a toy store in New Orleans to have a bike giveaway and other incentives for students. David is big on achievement and reading.

“I’ve been adopting a family for Christmas every year since I think I was eight or nine years old,” Lesley West said. “We have been blessed so much that it makes it easier to give back so it’s more rewarding now than it is to receive. This is the most favorite time of the year for me! So we get overwhelmed with giving back. There’s so many people that need help in so many different ways, and we do as much as we can and we enjoy.”

The faces of these young kids lit up with excitement. They had the tough choice of deciding which of the dozens of toys to take home. Their exemplary performance in the classroom then carried over and let them help their family.

“You’re looking at the cream of TP Schools,” said principal Harris. “These are students who for the first half of this year, have maintained an 85 percent or above. Most of them make A+ Club, where they have to receive 16 A+’s before the first six weeks of the grading period and that also means they’re on high honor roll. These students also have to demonstrate great behavior, so I don’t get to meet them at the office, and they’re on time for school. That’s a mandate to be a part of this program.

“When you look at 113 [students] out of 170 [elementary students], you know these are some awesome kids and awesome parents. … We celebrate them because they work hard and we believe in playing hard when you’re working hard.”

David was handing out the pies, but he was often tugged at for picture after picture. He takes his job seriously and is thankful to have the resources to make events like this possible.

“It’s just a part of who we are,” he said. “Every single opportunity we have to help some people out, anybody out, if there’s a need that can be met and we can help, we’re there.”

Hill Helps Grant Wishes

George Hill, along with “Wish for Our Heroes,” an organization dedicated to assisting the men and women of the United States active-duty military and their families, helped grant wishes at their annual holiday bash. At the Lucas Estate for the G3 Bash, five families had their wishes come true.

These wishes aren’t just fun activities or once-in-a-lifetime experience. They are needs, like clothes and groceries, etc. Others were given items to ensure they received something on Christmas Day. 100 families will receive assistance all the way up to Christmas.

“One lady home-schooled her kid because she had some type of brain disorder,” said Hill, who attended the bash for the fourth consecutive year. “She needed items like a computer, and simply her light bill paid.”

Hill, the NBA’s Community Assist award winner for October, is actively involved with the program. Half of the donation from that $10,000 award went to the organization. Earlier last week, he took “Wish for Our Heroes” kids and families shopping for Shop with the Pacers at Greenwood Park Mall.

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