Kyle Briner, a senior accountant at HHM CPAs in Chattanooga, Tenn. and service co-chair at Chattanooga Echelon, was the brainchild of “Run With Reason.” The inaugural run was held in December 2018, and this year, volunteers ran 123 miles to raise funds to support the Angel Tree Program. The group raised $19,500, providing gifts for 84 Angel Tree participants and holiday meals for families in the program.

Volunteers in festive clothing cruised the aisles at Walmart searching for gifts to fulfill Christmas wish lists Friday, December 13th. Walmart partnered with the cause to provide a separate check-out lane for the volunteers to utilize. Daniel Casillas, manager of the Signal Mountain Walmart in Chattanooga, Tenn., was an Angel Tree Program recipient when he was a child and is very passionate about the cause.

Participants in the fundraiser completed the run portion on December 7, 2019 at Redoubt Soccer Association. Volunteers ran a combined 123 miles, backed by sponsors who donated a specific amount per mile completed. Last year’s run supported 51 angel tree children. This year, the group supported 84.

“Our goal is to provide a joyful environment for the kids and their families on Christmas that might otherwise have been impossible,” said Briner. “We might not know what struggles those sitting right next to us are facing. We hope our efforts can lessen the burden for some families in the Chattanooga and North Georgia area.”

Briner and the Chattanooga Echelon members are looking forward to keeping the momentum alive for upcoming years and strengthening the program.

“It is great to see some of our newer staff build relationships with local organizations,” said Donnie Hutcherson, HHM CPAs Managing Partner. “When Kyle came to me with the idea last year, I could see how passionate he was about it.”

The fundraiser will come full circle when the Salvation Army volunteers distribute the gifts to Chattanooga and North Georgia families December 18th and 19th at the Christmas Warehouse, 5000 Calhoun Avenue. The participants of the Angle Tree program register with the Salvation Army in October and qualify by income guidelines or extenuating circumstances.