Community returns Powells’ generosity

A surprised Brayden Powell (center) looks at one of his gifts. Brenden Powell stands behind as does Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus. Bentley Powell, in the green shirt, is in the foreground as Terri Patterson Baroden is to the right and Katrina Powell is to the left. [Victor Moreno]

For the Powell family, the giving came full circle earlier this week when Michael and Katrina Powell were surprised with a “Best Christmas Ever” offering worth around $70,000.  

BJ Lingren, of ‘Best Christmas Ever,’ and Brianna Reinhold greet Katrina Powell at her front door to let her know she’s the recipient of the ‘Best Christmas Ever.’ [Victor Moreno]
The family was rocked this year when their son Brayden was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis. In September, Brayden was checked into Phoenix Children’s Hospital with a persistent fever and a few days later was paralyzed from the waist down. 

Katrina and Michael are the parents of four children. Brayden recently turned 9. Brenden, 12, is the oldest child. Bentley is 5, and Bella is 2.  

Brianna Reinhold, who nominated the family for the award, explained that this family has given to others in the community repeatedly.  

Last Christmas, Katrina spearheaded an effort to collect items from local businesses and put together “Hero” gift bags for every officer in the Maricopa Police Department. There was also one Halloween where she helped orchestrate a costume drive for needy children. 

Reinhold said Katrina has been involved in just about every kind of charitable event you can think of, including toy drives at Christmas. 

“She’s got a heart of gold for everybody else,” said Reinhold. “I just want her to know that it’s noticed and that her family is taken care of, too.” 

Reinhold’s words certainly rang true.  

It all happened in the front yard of the Powell home with 50-car parade and more than 100 well-wishers offering gifts and good tidings. There were carolers and volunteers formed an impromptu bucket brigade to move all the gifts from the vans to under and around the Christmas tree in the Powell’s living room.  


If you ask Angela Lloyd or Katrina, both will refer to the other one as their sister. Are they really sisters?  

Not by blood. But, by all other measures? Yes.  

Years ago, Lloyd hit a rough patch in her life. She was 19, with a child and homeless.  

She was attending school at Pima Community College in Tucson when she met Katrina’s mother, Terri Patterson Baroden.  

“I had a child and nowhere to go and Katrina’s mother asked me if I wanted to come live with her,” Lloyd said.  

Terri Patterson Baroden, Katrina Powell’s mother, reacts after the Powells were awarded the ‘Best Christmas Ever.’ [Victor Moreno]
“I went to live with her, and I met Katrina,” Lloyd said. “She 8 years old and I was 19. We bonded over the years and became sisters.”

Later in life, Katrina was there for Lloyd’s daughter.  

“When my oldest child was struggling and she wanted to be in Tucson while I lived here, Katrina took her in for six to eight months and tried to steer her the right direction,” Lloyd said.  

Lloyd said Katrina and her family’s generosity has touched many lives. 

“She’s super strong, and she’s still super thankful to anyone that does anything for her,” Lloyd said. “She’s constantly thanking people for everything. She’s very humble for sure. 

“Katrina helps so many people. And those people remember. So, those people are all standing up now and helping her, which I think is amazing.”  


Global Water Resources President and CEO Ron Fleming said the company looks for causes to support in Maricopa, and this one stood out.  

“I learned about ‘Best Christmas Ever’ and felt like this was going to be a great event,” Fleming said. “We should really get behind it.” 

Being that Fleming and his wife, Jessica, have two kids of their own, the cause spoke to them both.  

“Just imagine, put yourself in their shoes,” Ron Fleming said. “I mean, imagine taking your child to the hospital for a fever and they become paralyzed. It’s got to be really tough on them and the whole family, the other siblings.” 

Jessica Fleming was overwhelmed by the cause and more importantly, the response from the community.  

“I just keep using the word ‘inspiring’ because that’s what it is,” she said. “I mean, this whole community has come together and not even just people in the community, but outside of the community, have wanted to help as soon as they heard about the cause. 

“Personally, I’ve never met the family, but you just hear the story, and you want to help them. You want to help them get through this tough time and you hope that a community like this would come together, and they did in a big way.” 

David Karsten, owner of Karsten’s Maricopa ACE Hardware, has come to expect this kind of reaction from the community in Maricopa when someone is in need.  

Santa Claus arrives at Monday night’s festivities. [Victor Moreno]
“I think what impressed us the most coming into this community is how the community does rally,” Karsten said.  

Karsten, who also owns ACE Hardware stores in Phoenix, Carefree, Cave Creek and Goodyear, does a charity roundup on each transaction, where each customer is asked if they want to round up their total to the nearest dollar to be donated to a local charity. Each donation is less than a dollar.  

“You wouldn’t think it would be that much money, but it’s thousands of dollars,” Karsten said. “In my estimation, each year, Maricopa has the most donations.” 

Jeremy Darrow, the district manager with Iconic Tire and Service Center, said Maricopa is the perfect example of a place where his company wants to do business.   

“This is the reason why we wanted to be in a community like Maricopa,” Darrow said. “Everyone looks out for one another. We want to be part of that.” 

Reinhold was brought to tears thinking about the situation and the local response a mere hour before the Powells’ gift drop on Monday. 

“I want karma to come around for Katrina,” Reinhold said. “It almost gives you chill bumps to think about how the community came together. But then again, they’ve came together anytime we’ve asked them to.” 


Best Christmas Ever is a group that seeks to help families in need at Christmastime. The organization started 10 years ago and is headquartered in Minnesota. 

There are three rules to be nominated: The family cannot nominate itself; the family must have fallen on hard times due to no fault of their own; and there must be minor children in the home. 

The organization tries to help in ways that will change a family’s direction long after that “Best Christmas Ever” gift is awarded.  

Karsten liked the idea. He was on board long before the family was even selected.  

“We kind of saw it more of a holistic approach on like we can help long-term,” Karsten said. “So that, that kind of got me jazzed up to wanting to get involved.” 


Transverse Myelitis is a rare condition where only 1,400 new cases are diagnosed a year, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases.  

The only treatment available for Brayden is stem cell therapy, and the family must travel to Costa Rica for it. Estimates for the therapy are close to $100,000. The family’s health insurance policy does not cover the treatments.  


With Brayden forced to move around in a wheelchair, accessibility issues now abound in the Powell household.  

Ronald Smith is an expert in Universal Design, a practice in which homes are either designed or retrofitted to ensure people with disabilities can easily get around in the house. It’s making bathrooms larger to accommodate wheelchairs, widening door frames, removing thresholds and adding ramps where needed.  

“Obviously, with the surprise nature of this gift, we’ve been looking at old photos of the inside of the house from Zillow, trying to get an idea of the work that’s going to need to be done,” Smith said. “When we can get into the house, we’re going to do an assessment of the work and work with their physical therapists to put together a recommendation for accessibility because they’re going to worry about the bathroom and how he’s going to transfer to the toilet and the shower.  

“And then we have deal with the back door, which is too small and look at the whole first floor to see if there’s any obstacles or anything that will be a problem for them.”  

After Smith has had a chance to put together an assessment, Frank Magallon, of Giovanni’s Custom Flooring and Renovation, is going to handle the renovation.  

“We’re going to tear the bathroom apart and make it accessible and as handy as we possibly can,” Magallon said to the family on Monday night. “So, we’ll be doing a lot of demolition and we’re going to do our best to make it better than when we found it, and actually to make it a lot better and useful for you guys and to make your lives a little easier.” 


For Michael Powell, the Best Christmas Ever presentation was shock and awe. It was an emotional experience.  

“The community keeps giving us boost after boost and it’s been amazing to see,” he said. “Today, we’d just got home from another trip to the hospital and to see this, it’s overwhelming.”  

Michael Powell helps daughter Bella open a gift during Monday’s ‘Best Christmas Ever’ celebration. [Victor Moreno]
Katrina Powell felt the same way.  

“I’m so thankful,” she said. “These people have been so good to us. I’ve cried so much tonight that I’m dehydrated. I’ve run out of tears.” 

Maricopa’s response surprised BJ Lingren, a board member of Best Christmas Ever who splits time between Maricopa and Minnesota and spearheaded this year’s event.  

 “The plan was to do a little one (BCE gift) this year and this is what your crazy community created,” Lingren said. “I can hardly wait to see what happens next year.”