CHESTERFIELD, Va. -- Bill Jones lived for Christmas, and for 30 years, the Chesterfield man gave old Saint Nick competition.
Bill worked two full-time jobs and spent thousands of dollars of his own money giving toys away to those in need. He made sure little ones did not go without.
“Year round. 365 days a year. That is all Bill did,” says friend Danny Wagstaff. “Everything. This is what he dedicated his life too.”
But this Christmas, Bill’s spirit is sorely missed.
“His health went down and he wasn’t around much longer,” says Danny.
CBS 6 featured Bill in a “Heroes Among Us” segment two years ago. We were sad to report that the 72-year-old Vietnam veteran passed away in October.
“I miss him a lot I enjoyed talking to him,” says Danny. “He was all about the children.”
With Christmas approaching the question about what would become of Bill’s annual toy drive is still lingered.
“I was Bill Jones’ elf,” says Danny, who knew Bill for eight years
Bill was a loyal customer of Danny’s at Wagstaff’s Steakhouse in Colonial Heights.
“He ordered New York Strip. Medium well. Hash browns all of the way,” says Danny.
Fearing the tradition would fade away without Bill, local businesses and customers are rallying with monetary donations and toys.
“We have a little bit of everything. Teenage Ninja Turtles. Barbie. Star Wars. Dora. Bikes,” Danny says.
Wagstaff’s even sold 226 quarts of its popular vegetable soup for 12 bucks a quart.
“What we do is we get the money from selling the soup and go buy toys for Mr. Jones,” says Danny.
Friends and strangers alike are writing checks.
“It’s going to Bill Jones. No matter how you cut it, it is all going to Mr. Jones,” says Danny.
Danny says each donation keeps Bill’s spirit alive.
“He would be so proud to know people stepped up for him when he stepped down,” says Danny. “He was a wonderful man. If I could be half that man I would be a happy man.”
Danny likes to think Bill Jones is still smiling this Christmas, especially knowing that folks are trying to keep his mission alive.
“He had a mission and we’re going to make sure his mission this year will keep going.”
If you would like information on William’s Christmas Kids Foundation, email or call 804-590-2077.
If you know someone I should feature in my “Heroes Among Us” segment email Greg McQuade.