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Veterans group 'adopts' family of 8-year-old cancer patient Naomi Short for Christmas

Posted: 1:30 AM, Dec 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-07 10:18:00-05

HAMILTON, Ohio — In our Monday evening story about Naomi Short, an 8-year-old girl living with advanced brain cancer, WCPO didn’t mention her mother was a Marine Corps veteran.

But Sheri Motzer-Jeffres of American Legion Post 138 knew it the instant she spotted an American flag sign lettered USMC in a the family’s living room.

In the same moment, she knew what she could do to help.

“We adopt families for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she explained Friday night. “I knew we had room to adopt another family.”

Families adopted by Post 138 get groceries, prepared meals and presents for children and necessities for adults to carry them through the holiday season. Motzer-Jeffres said her fellow Legion members were immediately excited about adding the Short family to the list.

“It was a no-brainer,” said Kevin Childress. “We gotta do something like that. Her mom was a veteran, but that wouldn’t have even mattered. Even if she wasn’t, we’d still do it.”

Motzer-Jeffres said she’s stocked up on unicorn toys for Naomi, who loves anything unicorn-related. The Legion also named Naomi its grand junior marshal for a special tree-lighting ceremony Saturday outside Post 138.

“I just hope she feels all the love,” Childress said. “The caring that this whole community has for that little girl.”

Post 138 numbers among a wide variety of Hamilton organizations raising money for the Short family’s medical and living expenses as Naomi prepares to begin chemotherapy in 2020. “Go blue for Naomi” signs are all over town.

A local candle shop, Petal and Wicks, let Naomi design her own chocolate-cake-scented candle and donates a portion of the proceeds to the Shorts. Motzer-Jeffres said she bought one shortly after hearing about them.

“The city of Hamilton has totally changed in the last few years,” she added. “Them stepping up to do this doesn’t really shock me. I think it’s wonderful.”