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Pop’s Upside-down tradition looks to benefit Munford youths

By Thomas Sellers Jr.BUS Pops upside down Christmas tree

The upside-down Christmas Tree is back at Pops Bar and Grill in Millington at  6365 Navy Road.
Last year the tree debuted at the Millington eatery as a way to raise money for a local soldier’s family. Pops owner “Ms. Jeanne” Beckman opened the business with her late husband Pops Beckman. Ms. Jeanne has provided the platform for the trio of Rhonda Bonaiuto, Terri Strauser and Donna Ankebrant to decorate the tree. Bonaiuto received assistance on the tree this year from Christina Radcliff and her daughter Courtney all to benefit a pair of Munford children.
Savanna, 7, and Dakota, 10 are the children Pops is trying to raise money for this year. They come from needy families and the donations to “The Giving Tree,” will go toward Christmas gifts and items for the family. Bonaiuto said gifts can also be dropped off at Pops.
“They have little to nothing,” Bonaiuto said. “She’s actually been to my house. Just to see her and what little that they have, it’s really sad.”
Pops is hoping to raise more than $300 with this year’s tree. Last year the fundraiser netted $600 for the soldier’s family. As of Dec. 11 “The Giving Tree” only raised $60.
Bonaiuto said the children’s biggest wishes are a tablet and Play Station 3.
“They want what a kid wants, you know a 7 or 10 year old,” she said. “Everybody is like, ‘Well the PS3 that’s a little too much.’ But they see everybody else having it. It’s the normal thing a 7-year-old girl or 10-year-old boy wants.”
The group at Pops had the family in mind since November. The women cleared a portion of the ceiling in the restaurant to place the tree. Over two days prior to Thanksgiving, the women placed all the decorations on the tree and prepared to flip it upside-down.
But the group ran into a ceiling issue. And to fix that, Santa came to rescue. His lower body appears near the tree to keep it holiday friendly and eye-pleasing.
Ms. Jeanne said Pop’s regulars and other partrons love the colorful tree hanging from the ceiling. And the addition of Santa’s legs gets a chuckle out of most. The group at Pops said the new tradition keeps the memory of Pops going strong.
For years Pops, a U.S. Navy veteran, donated to charities in the area including the Wounded Warriors project. And his wife, family and friends honor Pops by continuing to give back.
“Spreading Pop’s Magic,” Bonaiuto concluded. “He was all about helping everybody and so is Ms. Jeanne. You’re supposed to help. We just took the opportunity to help. You’re supposed to take it and run with it. When you have, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
For more information or to donate, call 872-0353. Or visit (Millington Star) to see a profile on the Pop’s Upside-down Christmas Tree.

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December 2013
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