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Santas’ Sleigh Lifts Key Club, Burger King Shooting Victims

by Allan Appel | Dec 23, 2013 8:55 am

(1) Comment | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Westville

A mass shooter at the Key Club put Christmas shopping out of the question for single mom Yvette Williams. Then a bunch of Santas came to the rescue.

The Santas arrived Sunday afternoon at Williams’ doorstep to bring a broad smile and some early joy to Williams’ 5-year-old son Thaddeus.

The santas were members of the Faith Baptist Church, which for four years has been organizing a toy drive to help families in distress and each year also focuses on particular families where the need is acute.

The founder of the group is New Haven Police Officer Nancy Jordan. The church-wide effort is called the Santa Sleigh Ministry. (Click here for a story on last year’s Santa ride to the doorstep of a family whose toddler son had been hit by a stray bullet on Kensington Street.)

This year the Santas dropped in on two recent victims of gun violence In New Haven: Williams, as well as the 19-year-old manager of the 1329 Whalley Ave. Burger King, who was shot in the legs in an early Sunday morning robbery in mid-September.

Both happen to be single moms. Both sustained serious wounds to the femur.

On Saturday, the survivor of the Burger King shooting was among the more than 400 people who received gifts at the church in West Haven.

Williams was unable to make it. She was shot seven times in the femur, said Officer Jordan.

So the church, or rather the sleigh in the form of a brown GMC van laden with a box of toys, cruised to a stop on her Westville Street.

With her 5-year-old in her arms, Williams greeted the church committee members, including Jordan’s husband Keith, daughter Megan, and Tasha Gaskins.

Gaskins is Williams’ coworker at the assistant living facility where Williams is as a certified nursing assistant.

Williams usually spends her days taking care of other people. Since the shooting it’s been a struggle, which is why her gratitude to the Santa Sleigh visitors was tearful, beyond words.

Thaddeus tore into a basketball and charmed the visitors by showing precocious dribbling skills with either hand around the tree in the living room.

His mom was far subdued. As she showed the visitors into the living of her trim house, she said she could still not talk about the events of two months ago.

Her own injuries are compounded emotionally by the loss of Erika Robinson, who was killed in the shooting spree; Robinson was Williams’ best friend, said Tasha Gaskins.

Instead of talk about that part of the past, Williams offered hugs to each committee member, expressing a deep gratitude through tears.

“We’ve got a new cat upstairs,” Thaddeus declared.

Williams said that she is just beginning to get back to work as a CNA, on light duty.

As to being able to run around and shop during the hectic holiday season, that was “out of the question.”

As the sleigh began to load up with church members for the return trip to West Haven, a cousin came by to take Thaddeus out for a visit. Before he slid into the car he blew kisses to his visitors.

The other presents wait inside for him, beneath the small tree, until Christmas morning.

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posted by: Mary Brown on December 23, 2013  10:06am

Officer Jordan is doing an awesome job! It is so nice to hear a positive story happening in New Haven. We need to hear more stories like this not only during the holidays but throughout the year. Thank you Nancy for adding positive energy to this city. May God continue to bless you and your family!

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