Magical memories for Christmas

Published 4:38 pm Friday, December 9, 2022

Christmas time is filled with magical memories for Billy Chorey from his days growing up in Suffolk.

Chorey, owner/broker of Chorey and Associates Realty LTD, said he is hoping this time of year that provided many of the best childhood memories of his life is the case for all youngsters living in the city this year.

By sharing some of his fondest holiday memories, he is hoping local residents, businesses and organizations will step up and support programs like the Cheer Fund, which is working to raise $40,000 this year to ensure there are toys under their Christmas trees.

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He said his mother and father would always take him and his brother to local stores to see Santa Claus, most likely at Montgomery Ward.

“I had to be sure to be on my best behavior or Santa may not show up on Christmas morning,” Chorey said. “I can remember one or two white Christmases where it either snowed on Christmas Eve, or the ground was already white with snow, which made the season even more magical.

He said Santa never disappointed him or his brother with presents, which is one reason he thinks it’s imperative that the Cheer Fund be successful to allow the local children who may not be as blessed as he was to “not be disappointed” during this special season.

that Chorey said includes

The magic of Santa, presents, great food and lots of visiting family — along with getting a break from school and homework — makes Christmas a special time of year.

“The obvious reason for Christmas being special now is the fact that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and what that birth means for mankind, with peace and goodwill to all people,” he said. “Sadly, the real meaning of Christmas sometimes gets “lost” in all of the busyness that accompanies the season, but I always pray that each of us can slow down, relax and remember what the season is really all about.”

Chorey said he has been blessed to be a part of local boards here in Suffolk that give funds to worthy organizations.

“Serving on those boards has given me a keen ‘reality check’ of all the needs right here in this community in my hometown of Suffolk,” he said.

And the need is great here for many families, he said, noting the time are tough for a lot of people.

“Prices are sky high with inflation, budgets are tight and many people are literally paycheck to paycheck with their bare essential needs,” Chorey noted. “All of this affects the hundreds of children who sadly may come ‘last’ in the pecking order of receiving toys or those special extra gifts.”

But with the help of the Cheer Fund and Toys for Tots, youngsters have the opportunity to flash bright smiles Christmas morning.

“Now, 2022 especially, is a time that we all should try to help one another get through these difficult economic times, and we should show that love for one another both in word and deed, the latter perhaps being represented by a generous gift to the Suffolk Cheer Fund and Toys for Tots,” he said. “Life is short. Let me encourage my fellow citizens to help those in need without the thought of receiving anything in return. You will feel much better and God loves a cheerful giver.”

The Cheer Fund was started by the newspaper during the Great Depression to provide clothes and food for needy families. It eventually began providing toys for children and teamed up with the Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army.

These days, this program of the newspaper is its own nonprofit, with an independent board, and each year collects roughly $40,000 from individuals, groups and foundations in the community. This money goes directly to the purchase of toys by the Salvation Army.

To donate to the Cheer Fund, send a check to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 or bring it to the newspaper office, 157 N. Main St., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. We will list your donation in the newspaper, but it can be marked “anonymous” if you like.

Donations may be made in honor of or in memory of someone. If you bring the check to our office, we’ll even take your picture as you hand it to one of our staff.