Two years ago Pfc. Justin Whitmire, and his family of Simpsonville, South Carolina built a float for the organization Defenders For Children. The organization’s mission is to gain exposure for their organization and efforts to prevent child abuse.
According to Fox out of South Carolina:
Their float was ready to go for this year’s holiday parades in Greenville and Spartanburg when the organization said it was stolen. They were able to recover the trailer but float decorations are gone.
“The kids named it just right,” said Toni Clark, founder of Defenders For Children. “Truly the Grinch stole Christmas from us. I mean literally we have no float and we only have six weeks before the parade and we’re very disappointed, upset and we don’t really understand how anybody could even steal a Christmas float.”
Their float has been in the Greenville parade for two consecutive years and was in the Spartanburg parade with NASCAR driver Jeremy Clements in 2011. They had more than 100 children and adults walk beside the float in 2011 to draw attention to child abuse.
PFC. Whitmire was an Army medic training to become a doctor when he was killed in Afghanistan last December. Whitmire had been in the Army for about a year before he was killed by a roadside bomb in Paktia, Afghanistan. They said he had wanted to be in the Army since he was a young boy.
Justin Whitmire graduated from Hillcrest High School last year where he was on the debate team. Family members say he had offers to go to Harvard University but decided to join the military instead.
The group is now looking for volunteers to help rebuild the float, and are in need of money to buy supplies, a warehouse space to build the float, plywood, Christmas lights and more. The rebuilt float will be dedicated in Whitmire’s memory.
Anyone interested in helping Defenders For Children’s Christmas Float Fund can email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail donations to Defenders for Children, C/O: Thermal Resource Sales, 120 Halton Road #20, Greenville, SC 29607.
Volunteers looking to help build a new float can sign up online at their website, also donations can be made. Defenders For Children
They also have a facebook page, you can view it here Defenders For Children On Facebook