Local cowboys deliver Christmas cheer

By Sam Smith

In their second year of the program, the group Cowboys for Christmas delivered gifts to many families in need in the Big Horn Basin. The group delivered gifts to families in Byron, Cowley, Deaver, Lovell, Clark, Cody and Powell.

A group of friends created Cowboys for Christmas last year to help others in need. The group delivered items to 23 families throughout seven communities this year.

“We were at a dinner celebrating Mike Apanashk’s birthday, and we came up with an idea to help families out and give back to the community,” group member Kristy Lewis said.

And so, Cowboys for Christmas was born.

The gifts are donated to the group, and they deliver them to the families in need. The group has a Facebook page called “Cowboys for Christmas.” The page contains information about the organization and how to nominate families in need.

“We couldn’t do this without the donations,” member Wade Hill said. “We had a lot of people donate this year. We gave non-perishable foods, gift cards and Christmas trees to people in need.”

“We were able to give more than we have before, thanks to all the donors,” Lewis said. “We had a lot of donors from all over the United States and quite a few locals as well.”

Cowboys for Christmas was able to deliver gifts to everyone nominated this year.

“We had a list of people that were nominated, and we gave to everybody on that list,” Hill said.

Hill said he feels this program made a huge difference to those in the communities who received the gifts.

“Just seeing the joy on the kids’ faces and the parents’ relief, just knowing they have a meal for Christmas and can enjoy the season with their families and make it easy on them was a joy to us and made it all worth it,” Lewis said. “Making someone’s Christmas brighter is the big difference we made to others.”

“It showed that there’s a lot of love in the communities,” Hill said. “Last year, people got to see us in the paper, and it blew up from there. Hopefully this keeps getting bigger and bigger so we can give back to more families than we have before.”

Cowboys for Christmas members include Samantha, Jerry and Wade Hill, Cayla and Caleb Norris, Apanashk, Kristy and Chase Lewis and Joe and Janet Kelleher.

Hill hopes that more families reach out to them and nominate those in need of some holiday cheer next year.

“What I’m really hoping with newspapers promoting us and getting us out there, I’m hoping that more families come to us,” Hill said. “Our future goal is to help anybody out in the basin. We don’t do this for the glory or publicity. We do this to help out people in the community who need it.”

“We’re hoping to do a fundraiser in the spring and help out more families,” Lewis said.

To nominate a family in need for next Christmas, Cowboys for Christmas can be contacted through its Facebook page.