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By DAVE HINTON
Rantoul Press editor
Three Rantoul children will receive Christmas presents from their late father, thanks to the man who calls himself “Mowhawk Man.”
Mowhawk Man, whose primary mission is as an advocate for military personnel, past and present, also raises funds for those in need, especially during Christmas time. The Jaynes certainly fit that bill.
Nicholas Jayne, 31, of Urbana died Dec. 3.
His widow, Tabitha Jayne of Rantoul, said it didn’t appear that their three children — Donovan, 11, Jarred, 10, and Kaytlyn “Mimi,” 5 — would be receiving Christmas gifts this year, so Tabitha’s mother, Crystal Davis, gave Mowhawk Man a call.
And he came through.
He brought Christmas presents Saturday, and the gifts will be marked as being from their father.
Tears welling in her eyes, Tabitha Jayne said she feels “blessed” by what Mowhawk Man did. She said she was shocked when her mother told her that the children would receive gifts.
With the help of some of Santa’s helpers — 6-year-old Kaleb Sarbaugh and adults Shannon Erhardt and Eldon Davis — the gifts were brought into the Jaynes’ home and placed under the tree while relatives watched.
The children were not present when the gifts were brought.
Mowhawk Man said he has been inundated by requests for help this year.
“I’ve never had this many requests from Central Illinois,” he said.
More than 2,500 to be exact.
He said he served about 1,500 people last year, but this year will be able to help only a fraction of that number because of the poor economy and because he wasn’t able to hold a fundraiser for gift-buying.
Mowhawk Man said he raises money to buy the gifts because he wants to give back.
“We need to spread a little cheer here in Central Illinois,” he said. “We’ve got to remember what Christmas is all about, that Christ was born, and about giving.”
The day before, Mowhawk Man delivered gifts to two young children in Georgetown. Their family was hurting financially after the son was hit by a truck while he was riding his bike, and suffered a broken collarbone and a fractured skull, and the mother had to undergo surgery to remove tumors from her brain. Both have since recovered.
And Saturday night, Mowhawk Man supervised a “wrap party” in Danville at which about 20 volunteers showed up to help wrap some of the gifts that he had purchased to give out prior to Christmas.
“It’s not about what we can do for ourselves,” he said, “but what we can do for others.”