The EastIdahoNews.com team is busy helping a local Secret Santa give $1 million to deserving people in eastern Idaho this holiday season.
Commander Willie Parris began serving his country when he was drafted into the Army in the 60s. He later joined the Air Force and was honorably discharged from service in 1971. His military service may have officially ended at that time, but he found other ways to serve.
As a resident of Lava Hot Springs, he heads the Portneuf Veterans Group where he preps, cooks, and hosts out of his own pocket a monthly community meal where the proceeds benefit the group. He facilitates a monthly yard sale for the group and is solely responsible for collecting donated items, setting up and hosting this sale monthly during warmer months.
In between sales, he stores the items he collects in anticipation of the next sale. Anytime a community member has needs, whether it be from a death in the family, a medical emergency or some unexpected life event, Willie is the one who will organize a benefit for that person and he usually pays for the meal out of his own pocket. He also makes himself available to provide final military honors for local veterans, often traveling to do so.
Willie has never asked for anything for himself. He drives to Pocatello to get supplies for his meals and around the community in a van that has seen better years and is often in need of repair. Willie has always been someone who selflessly has served his community.
Secret Santa asked if we could track Willie down and surprise him with an early Christmas gift. Check out the video in the player above!