It's A 'Christmas Miracle': Shawnee Mom Delivers For Okla. Veterans

Wednesday, December 2nd 2020, 5:36 pm
By: Karl Torp

SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -

A statewide campaign to help give Oklahoma veterans holiday gift bags has delivered for a third year in a row.

The Shawnee mother who organizes the giveaway said it appeared to be a total bust weeks ago.

The halls of Jessie Newell's Shawnee home are now decked with gift bags. 

At the end of October, she had only seven bags as businesses didn’t donate and people were unwilling to shop during the pandemic.

Slippers, blankets, books, shirts, toiletries and more now are being delivered to 1,100 veterans living in Oklahoma veteran affairs centers. 

“I think Oklahoma has pulled off a Christmas miracle this year,” said Newell.

Newell's daughter started collecting the gift bags for veterans for a school project in 2018.

Newell thanks students for getting the word out.

Sophie Arnett helped put 100 bags together in honor of her veteran grandfather who passed away three years ago.

“We have been wanting to honor him as a family and we decided this would be the best way,” said Arnett.

The 5th grader also got her school to write many of the cards.

Whether it’s a handwritten letter, artwork or a fellow veteran's photos, each bag gets a special card.

This is the third year for the campaign, but most important this year for Newell was showing veteran they aren’t so distant.

“I’ve seen these guys and they've been away from family and they don't understand what's going on. They'll know that Oklahomans remember them,” said Newell.