The 1806 Grimm Brothers fairy tale story about the elves and the shoemaker has been a popular one for over 200 years.
Robert Ellis is not an elf, but for the past few years, he and his family and friends, have made it possible for all the elementary and middle school kids in Lincoln County to have a new pair of shoes.
This past Monday at Caliente Elementary School, Ellis and his wife Sandy, of Henderson, did it again.
All the middle and grade school age students gathered at the school, first for an assembly, hearing about the importance of staying in school and completing their formal education, then going to a room to have their feet measured for new shoes by four women from Payless Shoesource.
Nevada Congressman Cresent Hardy also attended, at Ellis’ request, along with Clark County District Judges Erik Johnson and his wife Susan, Swati Singh, Deputy Chief of Staff for Nevada Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison, and Andrea Alires from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen, and supporters Pete Kyreos and his wife.
Ellis started the program with the kindergarten kids in Clark County about 1984, and it has grown to include the middle schools there, and about 2013 expanded into Lincoln County. “We just enjoy coming up here so much. The people are so friendly.”
A full day of activities were planned for “Community Cares Day.” After the opening assembly with Hardy and others, Principal Pete Peterson said, while one class was being measured for shoe size, the other groups were attending various types of 15-20 minute informational meetings with various individuals. Amy Sonnenberg talked about perlite, Rick Stever on emergency support, Ranyette Martin on historic preservation, Bob Maxwell on railroad safety, Deputy Evan Schimbeck on the sheriff’s department, Jim Wilkin on heavy construction, Dawn Andone from the Nevada State Parks, Nick Pay with the BLM and Mark Gloeckner on bus safety.
Ellis, who had a towing company in Henderson, now run by his son, is now involved in investment properties. He said his desire has been to provide shoes and toys for every student in the two middle schools and four elementary schools in Lincoln County, plus $1,500 dollars to each school.
Ellis also presented a check for $2,500 each to Lincoln County High School, Pahranagat Valley High School, and C.O. Bastian High School. “We wouldn’t have even known about C.O. Bastian had it not been for Congressman Hardy,” Ellis said.
The shoes are expected to arrive in December and will probably be distributed on Dec. 20, leading into the Christmas break.