Remembering the Lions Club Santas
December 14, 2006
Only eight more days before Santa arrives at our house. I’ve drawn a very detailed map so Rudolph will guide Santa all the way out to our home this year to surprise our 6-year-old granddaughter. “In the old days” special “Santa helpers” from the Lions Club used to travel all around town, including way out here in Fish Springs where all the roads were dirt and real bumpy. How things have changed since we moved here 25 years ago. Most of the streets are paved now, but not ours. We still have about 3Ú4 of a mile of dirt. But that’s fine with us as people don’t speed so fast on dirt roads as they do on the pavement. Guess it doesn’t matter since Santa can fly anyway.
The men from the Lions Club were really wonderful. They actually dressed up in Santa clothes and went to every house where a little boy or girl lived and believed in St. Nicholas. Parents would sign their kids up at the local elementary schools. I still believe in Santa – heck, once you stop believing in Santa Claus he stops bringing you presents. That’s the way it goes.
I don’t know of any other community that had free, in-home Santa visits for every child. What a wonderful gift this was to the children of our community. Tom Cook is still a member of the Lions Club and he said the program lasted around 40 years. It’s been about 15 years now since the Lions stopped doing it.
“The Lions really hated to stop the Santa program, but they no longer could service all the kids,” said Cook. “There got to be as high as 1,200 different houses to go to, and around 2,000 kids to see. About a week before Christmas the group would gather together in Warren Reed’s old office and put together bags with an apple and candy in each. Then they would figure out route sheets.
“There were about 14 to 16 Santas and each of them had a driver. The Santas’ ride started on Christmas Eve at 5 p.m. and would go until about 9 p.m.,” he added.
Besides Tom Cook, some of those early-day “Santa helpers” included Knox Johnson, Doug Sorensen, Roy Stork and Milt Fleischer.
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It would be great fun to continue this tradition that the Lions Club started, but our population has just grown way too large. But thanks to the Lions Club, all the happy memories are there to stay.
n Linda Monohan can be reached at 782-5802.