THE KANSAS CITY STAR.
50 CENTS Metropolitan Edition Saturday, December 26, 1998
Christmas Day 1998
Willing hands fulfill fatherʼs promise
Elves of Christmas Present
remake KCK home; each
child gets a room
By RUSS PULLEY
The Kansas City Star
Josh Bailey used to daydream with his
father about how theyʼd work together,
fixing the upstairs of their house so the 10-
year-old boy could have his own room.
They started their planning a year ago in
April, because their family was outgrowing
their small house on 15th Street in Kansas
City, Kan. By fixing up the upstairs--long
ago converted into a separate apartment-
-theyʼd make new rooms for Josh and his
“That was before Dad got sick,” Josh said
Christmas Day. “He promised me Iʼd have
a new room when I was 10. Sometimes
I didnʼt even think about it, I just thought
about my dad.”
Jerry Bailey died Aug. 11 from a malig-
nant brain tumor.
But on Christmas Day, Josh, Jacob, 6, JIM BARCUS/ Special to The Star
and Miriah, 4, showed off new bedrooms Jacob (left), Josh and Miriah Bailey of Kansas City, Kan., returned to a rebuilt home Friday, including
built overnight by the Elves of Christmas separate rooms for each child.
Present, an anonymous group started in
Olathe. tor,” Sheri Bailey said. The woman came
contacted her about a week ago, she was
Each holiday season the Elves do good over with new curtains for the bedrooms.
only hoping for a paint job.
turns for people in the metropolitan area. Other elves brought new beds and mat-
But the house needed much more. A
Jerry Baileyʼs wife, Sheri, stopped work tresses, dressers and toys.
week ago the attic was a leaky refuge for
to care for her husband during the last Josh, coming home on Christmas morn-
raccoons, with holes in the ceiling.
month of his life. He died at home, she ing, expected a surprise, but not this.
The elves took over at 9:30 p.m.
said, with Josh holding his hand. “When we walked in the door,” Josh said,
Christmas Eve. The children stayed at
The illness wrecked the familyʼs finances, “we said ʻmommm, there are stairs...is this
Klausnerʼs house overnight.
said Keith Klausner, a friend, who admires the surprise?”
“A bunch of people Iʼd never seen before
the way they have persevered. Following those new stairs, they found
came over and demolished my house,”
“It might not look like it from the outside, the nearly finished rooms left by the
Sheri Bailey said. “Everything just explod-
but God has really blessed this family,” elves.
ed. There were 25 people up here last
Klausner said. “Sheʼs so strong, and “I wonʼt be afraid up here, because Iʼll
night--men, women, teenagers.”
theyʼre really good kids with good spirits.” have a ceiling fan like Momʼs,” said Miriah,
Craftsmen toiled through the night. They
But a remodeling project was out of the showing off her room.
set up a shop in the garage to cut wood,
question. So the children would con- By 7 a.m. Friday, the elves were exhaust-
she said, then knocked a hole in the
tinue to share one bedroom. “We were ed. They werenʼt quite done with the work,
kitchen wall to open the first floor to the
scrunched up,” Jacob said. but as they went home, they pledged to
stairway. They replaced ceilings, rewired
Then someone passed word to the return soon.
light switches and sockets, patched walls,
Elves, who for almost nine years have But not before they tacked a small brass
reconnected ductwork, installed carpet
been delivering help to people during the plate in the upstairs hall, engraved with a
and painted--pink for Miriah and off-white
holiday season. message:
for the boys.
Sheri Bailey said that when the Chief Elf “A promise is a promise, love Dad.
“At 3 a.m. they called an interior decora-