VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — We all have family traditions, but it is not often people create family traditions that involve their community.
A Virginia Beach man created a family tradition for his community more than 20 years ago, all to benefit a wonderful, holiday cause.
As a young boy, Troy Hedspeth could be seen performing all over town in his cowboy hat and boots. He was often even referred to as “Little Garth” after the country singer, Garth Brooks.
At 12 years old, Hedspeth’s giving heart led him to start using his talent to help out kids at Christmas after he realized not all children have a gift to unwrap on Christmas morning.
In 1994, Hedspeth, with the help of his family, hosted his very first Christmas concert to benefit the Marine Corps Toys for Tots at the Chesapeake Convention Center. It was a huge success and 24 years later, it still is.
The show has evolved and grown over time as Hedspeth’s life has changed. It features a little bit of country, a little Broadway and a lot of Christmas.
Now, it also features Hedspeth’s wife, Jessica. She has been a part of the concert since they were married 10 years ago.Their three children–10-year-old-Noah, 8-year-old Jonah and 3-year-old Faith–are also a part of the show.
Hedspeth says his church family plays a huge role in the show each year as well. Spring Branch Community Church has been the location of the concert for the past 15 years. Hedspeth is the Music Director there. Vocalists and musicians from Spring Branch help round out the cast.
They had a full house for the two performances they put on this past weekend. On average, about 1,300 people attend the concert each year and 3,000 to 4,000 toys are collected.
Next year, will be the 25th anniversary for the Hedspeth Family Toys for Tots Concert.
Everyone who attends the concert is asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for admission and there’s still time to donate to Toys for Tots. Collection stops at the end of this week, Dec.14.
If you would like to donate to the program, click here.