Teens give Lincoln Co. family a brighter Christmas - | WBTV Charlotte

Teens give Lincoln Co. family a brighter Christmas

A group of teenagers called The Explorers are making Christmas brighter for a Lincoln County family. The Explorers have an interest in law enforcement careers. They work with the Gastonia Police Department on various volunteer projects. This year, they decided to adopt a family for Christmas.

"Once I realized we could actually help them, I was like, 'Ok. Let's do this," said Explorer Dallas Payne, who is 17 years old.

The group reached out to Morgan Deitrick and her family. She's a single mom raising two children in Lincolnton. She recently moved in with her father, Jeff Stevens. Both Deitrick and Stevens are looking for work, so the Explorers thought they would be great candidates for a little extra help this Christmas.

The teens purchased gifts for the family and even helped out with a Christmas dinner. Payne's mom Lynn wanted to do even more. She had met Stevens earlier, at his previous job, and asked him an unusual question.

"She said, 'Do you ever play Santa?'" Stevens recalled. "And I just laughed and said, 'Yeah, I do.'"

"He looks like Santa!" laughed Lynn Lowery. "He's got a good personality. Very friendly. And he's great with kids and people in general."

Lowery, who owns photography studios in Gastonia and Forest City, asked Stevens if he was interested in a part-time, seasonal job as Santa. He agreed, and even brought his own homemade suit, made by his mother many years ago.

"It's easy! I guess the beard and the hair help a lot," said Stevens.

Now he spends his afternoons making little faces light up. He and his daughter say Lynn and the Explorers lit up Christmas for them too.

"They made a miracle come true," said Deitrick. "They are going to make my kids so happy. Thank you so much."


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