Dottie Rebhan gives to Christmas Happiness Fund to honor parents’ generosity

Published 12:08 am Thursday, December 9, 2021

SALISBURY — While many people maintain memories of the best Christmas gift they’ve received, Dottie Rebhan still remembers the best gift she gave.

Every December, Rebhan’s mother, Dot, and father, John, found a less fortunate family in Rowan County. Even though they weren’t flush with money themselves — John worked at the Salisbury VA and Dot was a teacher — they would take Rebhan and go shopping. Dot and John would buy whatever they were told the family might need, typically toys for the kids and clothes for the parents. When Christmas came, they’d wrap and deliver the gifts directly to the family.

One year, Rebhan and her parents were buying presents for a family when they realized they didn’t know what the mother wanted. Dot did some digging and learned a coat might be nice.

“Mom bought the most beautiful coat and a pin that went with it and a scarf,” Rebhan said.

As usual, Rebhan went with her parents to deliver the gifts. The kids got their toys first and ran off to play. The father got a few flannel shirts and was pleased. But when they gave the mother the coat, she froze in place.

“I’ll never forget the look on her face when she took the paper off of that coat,” Rebhan said. “It was unbelievable.”

For Rebhan, Christmas isn’t about receiving.

“To me that’s what Christmas is all about, giving somebody else what they want,” Rebhan said. 

That’s why Rebhan decided to donate to the Salisbury Post’s Christmas Happiness fund in honor of her “precious parents” John and Dot. They have both long passed, but Rebhan said she still remembers the lessons they taught her.

“They would want me to do that for them,” Rebhan said. 

For nearly 70 years, The Salisbury Post has been collecting monetary donations from the community to pass along to the Rowan Chapter of the Salvation Army, which distributes the money to assist families with Christmas presents for their children. Although collections for the fund began just over a week ago, over $11,000 has already been received.

Contributions can be brought to the Salisbury Post, located at 131 West Innes St., weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or mailed to Christmas Happiness, c/o Salisbury Post, P.O. Box 4639, Salisbury, NC 28145. Checks can be made payable to Christmas Happiness Fund and donations can also be placed in the Salisbury Post front door mail slot.

The latest donations are as follows:

• In memory of “Buck” and our parents, and in honor of our grandchildren: Will, Neely, $200

• Miranda, Tyler and their parents Mike and Trisha, Sarah and Kent, by C.W. Belk, $200

• In honor of Ester Marsh, by Jennifer Hubbard, $100

• In honor of Arnold and Brenda Herring, by Preston Herring, $50

• In memory of Jenny Hudson by Diane Labovitz, $50

• In memory of our mother Peggy T. Cruse and her cousin and best friend Jean Rufty, who are celebrating Christmas together in heaven this year, by her daughters Shellie and Nettie, $200

• In memory of Carl M. Benfield, Glenn R. Hartzoge, Mary B. Snowberger, Louise Hartzoge, by Tim and Marsha, $100

• Anonymous, $100

• In loving memory of Jane Benton Kale, Mr. and Mrs. Don Benton and Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Gaskey, by Keith and Darlene Kale and Vickie Bean, $150

• In honor of “Wife for Hire” Shelia Cannon, by Jeanette Yost of Jeanette’s Cleaning Service, $20

• In memory of our son, Mark Watson, by Larry and Leilani Watson, $100

• In honor of our Franklin Presbyterian Church family, by Rick and Carol Leonard, $100

• In loving memory of Giorgio and Mercedes Porcari, and in honor of foster children, by Sandy Porcari, $50

• In memory of Earl and Mary Sain, by Tony and Patty Heilig, $100

• In memory of Hoytt and Ann Heilig, by Tony and Patty Heilig, $100

• Delta Xi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Inc., $100

• In memory of “Ford” and all that he taught me, by Leonard Witke, $50

• For Rick Travis, by G. Jean McCoy, $200

• In memory of Jack Hodges, by Belinda Reid, $25

• Anonymous, $100

• Insolite Book Club, $50

• In memory of our daughter Meredith Hylton, $100

• Rosalie Roberts, $25

• In memory of my precious parents John and Dot Rebhan, by Dottie Rebhan, $50

• Pamela and Steven Carson, $500

• In memory of Bill Shives, by Becky, $100

• In memory of Ed Dupree, by Bitsy Dupree’s Family, $100

• In loving memory of Dante Spagnolo, by Agnes Spagnolo, $100

• Denny White, $250

• In memory of Lloyd and Nellie Safrit, by Calvin Safrit, $100

Daily Total: $3,220

Running Total: $11,249

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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