When Joan White took her niece Ginger Miller and Miller's sons out to Cracker Barrel for lunch on Christmas Eve, the Miller family thought it was an ordinary holiday meal. But when Ginger was surprised in the parking lot with a 2009 Toyota Sienna van being presented to her by a few local friends, she knew her family's Christmas was anything but normal.
Ginger Miller, a native of Calhoun and a graduate of Calhoun High School, always wanted to leave Calhoun when she was younger. But when she had her three sons, she realized that Calhoun was her home and decided to stay close to family.
But staying in the area has had its own set of challenges. Her oldest son, Will Miller, 23, has cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis, and their doctors are in Chattanooga, which requires a bit of a commute. And as of recently, their old van had been having problems, making transportation difficult and often unsafe.
Throughout Will's life, Ginger's father Randall Woody had been a source of support with taking care of Will, lifting him and helping out in ways he could. However, Woody suffered from a few health issues this year and was no longer able to help out Ginger in the ways he used to.
White said after Woody's health problems, Ginger quit her job to take care of Will fulltime. And as a single parent, this decision left the family in a tight financial situation, though Ginger was doing the best she could.