Philipsburg

Santa Claus delivers Christmas to local kids, special needs woman

Santa Claus visits the veterans memorial in Philipsburg.
Santa Claus visits the veterans memorial in Philipsburg. Photo provided

Most people don’t know that Santa has an outpost in the Moshannon Valley.

For about three years, a guy in a red suit has been spreading holiday joy.

Like the legends say, Santa is a pretty private guy. He doesn’t want credit for the Christmas spirit he spreads. For him, it’s about the people he visits.

Like the Spicer family, of Port Matilda.

When dad Tim Spicer Sr. got his hand caught in a wood splitter just after Thanksgiving, the medical emergency threw a monkey wrench into holiday plans. He was taken to Altoona by medical helicopter, then flown out again to Pittsburgh. He had surgery on Tuesday, removing his little finger.

A lot of time in the hospital and a lot of money for medical bills makes it hard to plan presents.

But then someone who follows Santa on Facebook let him know he had a bike to give, if Santa could find the right kid. Someone told someone about the Spicers’ three sons, ages 9, 12 and 14, and their 5-year-old daughter, and that info got passed on to Santa.

Santa picked up the bike, loaded it into his truck — it works better than a sleigh in central Pennsylvania — and took it to the Spicers on Thursday along with a scooter for their daughter.

It’s the kind of thing that makes his day.

And on Christmas, while most people would think Santa’s day would be done, he won’t be kicking back with some eggnog or relaxing with Mrs. Claus. He will have one more stop to make at Ridgeview Eldercare in Curwensville.

Bobbi Jo Fleck, from the Moshannon Valley, will be staying there as she recovers from surgery. She has special needs and was concerned that Santa might not find her in her temporary accommodations. But Santa heard and worked a last minute trip into his schedule.

He does things like this because he learned how from Virginia Smith, a longtime special education teacher in the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District. She loved helping people. She loved good causes. She never met a costume she didn’t like, and she had a special place in her heart for the holidays. She died in the spring.

“She was a special lady and knew just how to talk and look at people to inspire them and get the best out of them,” Santa said.

And while plenty of people ask Santa for things, the people he helps locally are awfully grateful for not only the gifts but also the heart behind them.

“We would like to thank him in this time of hardness,” Liz Spicer said. “What an amazing man.”

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce

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