TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The Fisher House at Travis Air Force Base, California echoed Dec. 20 with the sounds of old familiar Christmas carols – but even louder than the music were the messages of hope and support brought by carolers Delia Colvin and Steven Gary, who felt they just had to “pass it on”.
Colvin is an Army veteran and international bestselling author. Gary is a guitarist and vocalist with six album credits and performance experience from Hollywood venues to cruises. Together, they led a group of families, friends and employees in singing well-known Christmas carols including “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Deck the Halls” and “Silent Night”.
They also handed out Santa hats, reindeer antlers and candy canes to the children, as well as a handwritten card to each Fisher House family. At the end of the performance, Santa Claus made a surprise visit to wish each child a happy holiday.
“To be able to bring a little bit of Christmas and a little bit of happiness (to the Fisher House) is incredibly special to me,” said Colvin. “The holidays are a beautiful time of giving. Our hope was to normalize the joy of Christmas and help everyone feel like it is Christmas, no matter where they are.”
The Fisher House was the perfect venue to do so. Part of a collection of homes built on military bases by the late Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, Fisher Houses provide a place for families in need to stay without charge when a member is hospitalized. They aid families in numerous ways, from serving daily meals to hosting various activities for children. On this particular day, they provided a place to sing carols and spend time together.
At the conclusion of the performance, Colvin shared her own story of hope with the audience. Her desire to give back began in December 2010, and has changed her life ever since.
“Two weeks before Christmas, I had two small surgeries that combined into a mass of blood clots,” she said. “While I was in the hospital in intensive care, I didn’t really know if I was going to get out of there. When the technician found out what was going on with me, she actually started crying. They told me I had more blood clots than they’d ever seen in a living person. I wasn’t expected to live.”
Then, in the midst of a grim diagnosis, she was reminded of the holiday spirit by a group of children she had never met.
“I remember getting this card from a group of Cub Scouts, and every year since I’ve tried to find that troop,” she said. “It was the most touching thing. It was this bit of Christmas and hope.”
Eight days after discovering Colvin’s blood clots, technicians performed another computerized tomography scan. This time, it displayed miraculous results.
“I went back to my blood doctor to talk through things,” she remembers. “As I’m leaving his office, he said, ‘I just have to tell you something. I’ve seen something that I’ve never seen before. On the CT scan we did, there is absolutely no sign of any blood clots.’”
Colvin’s astounding recovery led her to dramatically change her life.
“I felt like I just hadn’t done the things I was supposed to do. It was a wake-up call. I realized I was a writer, and no one had ever read anything I’d written.”
The following December, she had published two books that became international bestsellers. She published a third bestseller soon afterward, completing a trilogy called “The Oracles Series”.
In addition to launching her career as an author, Colvin continues to find ways to give back and share her message of hope – just as the Cub Scout troop did for her when she needed it most.
She and Gary both feel happiness can aid the healing process, especially during the holiday season.
“When you’re displaced, when you’re isolated, when these things are going on that you don’t understand; bringing in these songs everybody knows and has heard all their lives brings a sense of normalcy and comfort,” said Gary. “We want to bring that to people.”
One look at the smiling faces around the Fisher House dining room that day would have revealed that the philanthropic carolers accomplished their mission, with the help of a little holiday magic.