Our Neighbor: Tom Church

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by CYNTHIA IZAGUIRRE / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on April 8, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 8 at 1:45 PM

Today's Our Neighbor has learned to stand in someone else's shoes and he has been walking in a better direction ever since.

The students at Jack C. Binion Elementary in Richland Hills have been waiting for Tom Church. He comes for a visit every year around Easter time - and he's never empty handed.

"Just about all the children had never owned a new pair of shoes," Church said.

Jack C. Binion elementary is a Title One School, meaning 60 percent of the children are on free or reduced lunch.

For the last 10 years, Tom and his helpers have delivered shoes to all of the kindergarten and first-grade classes.

This year, he showed up with 140 pairs of dress shoes.

"One little girl looked up at me with real thick glasses and spoke Spanish. Ms. Olvera asked me 'Do you know what what she just said?' I said 'no.' She said: 'I've been dreaming about this pair of shoes all my life.'"

Not all the students need the shoes, but a big portion of them do.

Everyone gets a pair and you don't have to ask what the shoes mean to these kids, you just see it.

"It actually brings us to an act of humility. We feel very humbled when we're with these children," said Church.

"Many times they get hand me downs or they get garage sale shoes or they get shoes that have been given to them. For them this is a brand new pair of shoes," teacher Lety Olvera said.

So why does he do it?

Church says it's a simple lesson he learned from his parents: to give and be generous.

E-mail: c-izzy@wfaa.com

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