Sleigh Bells Ring, “Ona’s” Listenin’

Tara Hutchison/Torrington Telegram Miss Merry Christmas, Onalise Albaugh, with the Lions’ Chapter Judges, Mel Gabel, Val Grant, Tina Garrelts and Roxann Eddington.

TORRINGTON – When you hear those sleigh bells ringing, and see Santa Claus while warming up with fuzzy mittens and a cup of hot cocoa, you’re also going to see a new Miss Merry Christmas during the annual parade downtown this year.

The Torrington chapter of the Lions held their annual interviews for the 2019 Miss Merry Christmas, and while there were great candidates for the job, Onalise “Ona” Albaugh took home the cape.

Born and raised in Colorado Springs until the middle of seventh grade, Albaugh remembers spending time with family in the Torrington area each year. Her favorite Christmas memory is playing with her cousin at her Nana’s house. Her family moved to Torrington and she is ready to make a positive impact in the community.

Albaugh’s interests include running and sprinting, pole vaulting and music.

With a love for Christmas and spending time with little kids, Albaugh is excited to get more time with the community as Miss Merry Christmas. 

“I would love to be more involved in the community and I love going to the care center. I go there all the time,” Albaugh said.

In the future, her goals include getting a degree in Elementary Education. She hopes to become a teacher in Wyoming.

Carrying on with the traditions of Christmas and the city, Torrington’s Lions Chapter’s Miss Merry Christmas was founded in 1980. Mel Gabel with the Lions said Miss Merry Christmas also helps with community awareness.

“It’s also the idea of getting kids acquainted with the idea that it’s not just Santa Claus, ‘cause some of them are scared of Santa,” Gabel said. “So Miss Merry Christmas kinda helps make it more, ‘Oh, that’s my big sister.’” 

The program is a way for the youth to become more involved in the community and to be a beacon of joy and inspiration for the younger children as well as the senior crowd. 

“I think that just going out and doing this for the kids and the care center and everything will make people happy,” Albaugh said. “I think that being happy is a good thing for children and for everybody.”

Lions Member Val Grant said one of the Torrington Lions’ biggest fundraisers is the Holiday Bazaar the weekend following Thanksgiving. 

The Lions are an international organization focused on assisting communities that are caught in emergency situations; Torrington’s chapter focuses on assisting individuals with visual impairments. 

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