Little boy saves Christmas for one Columbus man

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus man was looking for the Christmas spirit on Saturday when he had a chance encounter with a special 3 year old who gave him exactly what he needed, just with a smile. Thursday, that man returned the favor and made the little boy's dreams come true.

Mike Venable said he went downtown Columbus Saturday morning for the Reindeer Run to try and catch some Christmas spirit.  Venable, who is battling kidney cancer, snapped some pictures of the event.  One would not get out of his mind.  It was a picture of 3 year old John Henry Clark.

Clark's grandmother, Cynthia Weaver, remembers, "I was just pushing John Henry down the side walk, a man snapped his picture, John Henry smiled real big."

It was not that simple for Venable. He could not get the picture of Clark out of his mind. "I got the most important thing I needed from this on Saturday - the spirit of Christmas in the face of a little boy," explained Venable.

So, he wrote about it on his blog.  Within a few hours someone identified John Henry and got the two in contact.  Clark's mother emailed Venable, thanking him for the picture and said John Henry's favorite part of Saturday was when Santa arrived in a helicopter.

Venable got an idea and "made some calls."  He set up a helicopter ride for John Henry. What a better way to thank the little boy who gave him some cheer.

The little boy's face lit up when he saw the "chopper."  He rode with his mom over Columbus and Ft. Benning in METRO Narcotics Task Force's helicopter.

John Henry's mother, Melissa Clark, said, "John Henry has a charisma that is very contagious. It has been eye opening for us because I take that for granted because I see him every day."

Venable said, "He got to check something off his bucket list today and we all got a great little Christmas story."

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