Community returns Christmas cheer to recovering Harley rider - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

PAY IT FORWARD

Community returns Christmas cheer to recovering Harley rider

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Dennis Allen has been bringing Christmas cheer to Cottonwood and Jerome for more than two decades.

Allen brightens the children's day at the annual Christmas party and flips the switch that lights up the mountain. He said he doesn't do it for money, he does it for the kids.

"I just shouldn't be here right now, I should be a vegetable," Allen said.

Allen and his Harley-riding buddies wanted to honor Prescott's Granite Mountain Hotshots who were killed fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in June 2013, so they joined the procession that brought the fallen firefighters to Phoenix.

It was 117 degrees that day. Allen is diabetic and at some point, going 70 mph, Allen passed out.

"We're going down the road and I don't even remember, the next thing I know I'm laying on the ground out in the desert," Allen said.

Allen broke several ribs and needed skin grafts to patch his scarred body.

He spent five months in the hospital and suffered two heart attacks while recovering. He's still too weak to walk and because of that someone else will have to drive the sleigh this year.

Mike Diquattro, with the help of Allen's many friends, nominated Allen for CBS 5's Pay It Forward program, describing Allen as "a big hearted and kind gentleman who has touched the lives of everyone living up here in Northern Arizona."

This week, they presented Allen with $500.

"We just wanted to give you a Merry Christmas this year from everyone in Cottonwood and Jerome and we want to pay it forward to you," Diquattro said.

Allen's first goal is to be strong enough to walk.

"I'm just hoping that everything comes back the way it was and if it does, I'll be there, I'll be back. I'll be ready to do it again next year," Allen said.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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