THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) –For 52-years, cities across Georgia bring joy to the state's seven regional mental health hospitals during the annual Mayor's Motorcade.
Thursday, twelve area cities traveled to Thomasville's Southwestern State Hospital to deliver Christmas gifts along with much-needed items.
Sirens announce the arrival of the annual Mayor's Motorcade, an event patients at Southwestern State Hospital look forward to all year long.
"For them to drive all the way from Albany, Valdosta, Lake Park, just to be here and show their support, it means the world to our patients," says Hillary Hoo-you, the hospital's Regional Administrator.
"It's one of those fun things we all love to come to," says Camille Payne, Mayor of Thomasville. "It makes you feel good and let's you know the true meaning of Christmas."
The Mayor's Motorcade began in 1958 as a way to raise awareness and provide gifts to patients Georgia's seven regional mental health hospitals.
"Everyone wants a Christmas gift. This is the holiday season," Hoo-you points out. "This is the one opportunity for our patients to receive gifts from the community."
But the gifts provided will last well beyond Christmas day.
"We had one patient who had his 18th birthday here and had never had a party before," Hoo-you recalls. "So it was his first birthday party with gifts."
Representatives from 12 south Georgia cities presented their donations during a special ceremony Thursday morning, even vowing to out-give each other next year.
"Next year, it's on!" jokes one of the city reps to the crowd.
"It's just a real good time for the cities of south Georgia to give back," Payne says.
"We know it's a difficult time financially for all the cities so we're so grateful for all the charities they participate in so they can give us these donations," says Hoo-you.
Even Santa made an early visit to Thomasville to help lead the motorcade.
"It's a blessing to be a part of this program," he told us. "Now Santa's got to head back to the North Pole. But I'll be back on the 24th. Ho, ho, ho!"
But these cities have already delivered plenty of holiday cheer.
The Mayor's Motorcade is estimated to bring in over $15,000 in gifts.
It's not too late to make a donation for this year's event. If you'd like to help out or get information on next year's Mayor's Motorcade, contact the city of Thomasville at 229-227-7001.