FESTIVITIES — Indiana Transmission Plant 1 organized a drive-by parade for Bona Vista residents last week.

Christmas traditions are among the most favorited and cherished memories for so many people.

They are special and emotional while often transcending generations. Thanks to the Indiana Transmission Plant of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Bona Vista was able to celebrate Christmas in a way familiar to years past safely within our current pandemic.

This holiday season looks different for everyone, Bona Vista residents included. For the safety of our clients we have temporarily closed our day services; staff from that department are providing activities virtually. We have made the hard decision to cancel our beloved Christmas talent show and party that has become a holiday staple in our community. We have canceled departmental parties comprised of patchwork meals made by every staff member’s signature dish. What we have not canceled, though, is our creativity in adapting to a new way of celebrating. Staff have become resourceful with ways to occupy residents that are home more often than normal and our community has stepped up in a huge way.

The logistics and PD team at ITP, with the backing of plant manager Dee Dee Fultz, approached Bona Vista with an offer of generosity and thoughtfulness, an offer that filled a desperate need this holiday season. They wanted to deliver gifts and a meal to the clients in our residential homes. This simple idea of kindness quickly morphed into an event involving the whole community and bringing so much more to our clients than a package to open. Hawg Heaven jumped on board to donate and deliver meals to each resident as well.

The event took shape last week as a Christmas parade from one location to the next. Participants decorated their cars from end to end with garland, lights and signs. This train of merriment was led by the jolliest old elf himself, Santa Claus. Mayor Tyler Moore, the Kokomo Police Department, Howard County Sheriff’s Department and Kokomo Fire Department also joined in the parade. The 20-car line traveled house to house, honking and waving, singing carols and wishing on looking residents a happy holiday. Residents stood on the porch of each Bona Vista home beaming with excitement and anticipation. This joy is what the season of giving is truly about.

Todd Ciscell, formerly of ITP, began the tradition of providing Bona Vista clients a Christmas party in 2017. “Todd strongly believed in giving back and helping those less fortunate,” said Danylle Hanley from ITP. She and Kimme Isham led the charge this year in planning the Christmas event and adapting their usual party to a parade format.

To the people that participated, you are our greatest gift this season. Bona Vista is thankful to consider ITP and Hawg Heaven family, and we are grateful to the community servants that participated in this event. You brought our clients more than a present and a meal; you brought them smiles and hope.