Guardsmen aid special holiday celebration for special children

| 29 Sep 2011 | 10:48

MILFORD - The Army National Guard teamed up on Dec. 13 with Country Ark Farm to provide a holiday party for over 130 physically challenged kids and young adults. Staff Sergeant Eric Bussman of Detachment 1, Bravo Company 1st/109th was “surfing the net” when he spotted an article about the holiday party that Country Ark Farm was going to have. He decided he wanted to help and be part of the event. Country Ark Farm is the largest provider of programs for the physically, emotionally, and mentally challenged in Pike County. They have a petting farm and small zoo where they hold special events all year long. The holiday party was held at American Legion Post 139, where a good turnout filled the hall. Hot food and beverages were served to all the guests. Under the Christmas tree were 130 bags full of age-appropriate gifts for the kids. Bussman began some fundraising in his hometown of Broadheadsville and with the help of friends and family raised enough to pay for all the gifts and food for today’s event. Country Ark founders Mike and Donna Ciancitto were on hand to help with the event. “There was a great effort and we have a super turnout. We have never had an event like this that has been so supported by everyone,” remarked Donna Ciancitto. “Sgt. Bussman did so very much and we thank him and the National Guard for their generous donations.” “I’ve been working as a special-ed teacher’s aide for four years at Wallenpaupack High School and it is wonderful to see so many happy smiling kids,” said Bridget Wolf. After some appropriate suspense, Santa showed up to the cheers of everyone. The first gift he dispensed was a gift certificate for Ciancitto. After that, Santa made his way over to the Christmas tree and began his task of gift giving to all the children.