By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Pam and H.L. Baird scheduled time to serve on Christmas Day.
The newlyweds were among the volunteers preparing and serving meals at the annual Community Christmas Dinner Tuesday at the Stillwater Community Center.
H.L. Baird has been employed by CareerTech in Stillwater for 17 years. The pair married on Dec. 1 and settled into married life in Stillwater on Dec. 2.
“I had always wanted to volunteer and serve food,” she said. “H.L. went to work Dec. 3 and called me, and said we were volunteering to serve food on Christmas Day since our families won’t be here until tomorrow (Wednesday).”
Community Christmas Dinner founder and organizer Charles Kaupke said volunteer participation was great for this year’s event, but the frigid temperatures, patches of ice on roads and threat of a winter storm kept diner numbers down.
“The spirit was strong,” Kaupke said. “It was a great overall community response.”
The Bairds arrived at the Stillwater Community Center at 8 a.m. Christmas Day — not really knowing what to expect, she said.
What they found was a lot of food to prepare and serve and some new friends.
“I don’t know anyone here. I’ve met about three people since I moved here. This is a great way to meet other people,” she said.
Volunteering to serve others on Thanksgiving or Christmas had been on Pam Baird’s to-do list, but she didn’t have an opportunity when she lived in Texas.
“So, he (H.L.) found out who we needed to talk to and set it up so we could do this,” she said.
There is more to this Christmas story.
The newlyweds were best friends in junior high and high school, but had lost track of each other over the years.
“We reconnected about a year and a half ago,” she said. “We started dating and the next thing you know we were married.”
Volunteering to help with the Community Christmas Dinner was an amazing experience, she said.
“I am a people person. To be able to do this for people who are going through tough times, just means the world to me,” she said.