A local holiday legend continues, as an anonymous donor known only as "Pete" delivered a Christmas gift to the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday around 10:30 a.m.
The donation is the 32nd cash gift the nonprofit organization has received from "Pete" since 1990.
"Pete's" donation was discovered after he called Easter Seals Vice President of Development Terry Haynie and directed her to search for a gift bag. "Pete" said to look near a trash container next to the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center parking lot at Bellemeade Avenue.
The rest of the Easter Seals development department immediately joined in the search and quickly spotted a brightly colored holiday gift bag under a tree. Inside the bag was a candy jar made of clear glass and shaped like a Christmas tree. The jar was stuffed full of chocolate candy and money -- 30 folded $100 bills, totaling $3,000.
Again this year, "Pete" indicated that his donation should be used to purchase gifts for children with disabilities from disadvantaged families.
Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center therapists, teachers and social workers will now act as "Pete's" elves, buying gifts for young clients who would otherwise have a meager holiday.
"Pete" typically waits somewhere nearby to make sure the Easter Seals employees find his gift, and the staff learned of it Wednesday when Terry Haynie received a follow-up call from "Pete."
He told her he saw the group retrieve the gift bag, and even snapped a few pictures of them. "Pete" also explained that he gives anonymously because he doesn't want personal recognition, and he considers his annual delivery to Easter Seals as the start of his own holiday season.
Including this most recent delivery, the mystery man's contributions to the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center now total $73,450 since 1990. All of "Pete's" donations have been designated to fill the needs of children with disabilities.
This "secret Santa's" donations have always arrived in the form of hundred-dollar bills delivered in unique ways. In most cases, the cash is accompanied by a handwritten message. A note enclosed with Wednesday's "sweet" gift simply said, "You will hear from me again. Pete."
In previous years, "Pete's" creative deliveries and unselfish spirit of giving have drawn attention from Reader's Digest, CNN News and newspapers around the country.
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