KINGSPORT, Tenn. - This year's Kingsport Angel Tree program got some big help in the final hours to make sure every angel got adopted.
Thanks to Bob and Kim Hughes, some area children are going to have a very Merry Christmas.
As owners of Johnson City-based JD Squared, they stepped up and adopted all remaining angels on the Kingsport Salvation Army Angel Tree. "We're a little late to the party, but we try to get there as quick as we can to pick up whatever is leftover. We want to make sure that there is no angel left behind, we don't want that," says Kim Hughes.
Just talking to the Hughes for a few minutes, it's clear the pair is humble about their success and they're willing to help others. The Hughes say they understand the struggle -- they too have been there. "There were times when we were down and out. I remember that very clearly. People helped us, now the coin has flipped," says Bob Hughes.
JD Squared makes tube and pipe benders, an item sold mainly to race car builders.
It's not a company the average consumer would even know about; in fact, most of the items they make get shipped around the world.
But the Hughes say they want to support the community where they live.
They credit the hundreds of others who stepped up before them -- individuals, families, businesses -- to help 4,500 children. "We just happened to be late to the party. This is what's left and when you look at how much they've done out there, it was literally, 'let's complete the mission. Let's just finish the job,'" adds Bob Hughes.
But the leaders at the Salvation Army of Kingsport call the donations a blessing and say this family helped save Christmas for so many local children.
Bob Hughes has a message for all of those families struggling this season: "Everybody who was in the position where we were at 20 years ago, just keep on swimming. It gets better, and then you can return the favor to someone that you don't know down the road. It's a really good feeling," adds Bob Hughes.
The Hughes says the majority of the gifts were bought for children ages 12 to 17, because often those are the ages left behind on Angel Trees.
By the way -- this is the second year the Hughes have done this charitable act.