January 19, 2015 4:56 pm ET
The spirit of the holidays is alive and well in Dundalk
Source: Santa Revealed
Santa and the Hernandez Family
I know that it has been more than a month since the Christmas holiday, but I received a call about an incident that is worth writing about after the fact. This is a case of the human element trumping political agendas.
In fact, the story made me think about one of my all-time favorite movies, Miracle on 34th Street, which made me want to look into things even more.
But let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?
Dave and Brenda Patro are the impetus behind the North Point Community Association. They stop at nothing to help their community. Usually, that means that they have to play hard ball with local politicians, and the Patros have the tough exterior to do so.
But this story is one that has the power to soften the hearts of just about anyone, including those two community warriors.
When the people that informed me of this Christmas story—albeit a tad late, but none the less just as important as the 25th of December—it lead me to the Patros. I had received enough of the details to know where and when I had to be to witness the true spirit of this iconic holiday and its impact upon those who witnessed firsthand the true meaning of the spirit of Christmas.
When I arrived at the North Point Southeast Regional Rec Center, I was meet by David Patro. Dave wasted no time in telling me the story that embodied the holiday spirit.
Dave said one night, while he was running the NPV youth programs, he asked the children about their Christmas. The response he received from the children was typically positive, which is why one little Latino girl’s response stood out. She said that she did not receive any gifts from Santa because her parents could not afford to buy presents. Her father had just gotten laid off from his job, and there was at times not enough money for food. The Mother could not speaking English, but she managed to get the message across with some help form Ms Rodriquez who speaks Spanish.
Dave asked Darlin Rodriguez, an NPV volunteer who speaks Spanish, to relay a message to the young girl. Dave explained that he has a “special in” with Santa and would talk to the jolly old elf about straightening out the matter.
Then, Dave told the little girl that he called Santa and there was a mix-up on the girl’s address, which Santa promised to rectify.
With that, Dave and Brenda got to work. When word got out about the situation, many members of the community jumped in and donated everything from gifts to money. One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, gave a $250 donation to the family.
Dave, accompanied by Santa (AKA Glen Urtes, the Accordion Playing Santa) visited the family to explain how their house was missed on Christmas Eve. Santa started off with a sing along version of Jingle Bells, and then the Hernandez family graciously (and, I might say, humbly) opened their gifts.
It was very moving for yours truly to see the tears in the eyes of the children who were overwhelmed with emotion at the attention being cast upon them.
Along with the Patros, credit also goes to Irene Spatafore, who called Lynda Laskey and played a prominent role in making this special visit by Santa happen.
In the end, one can truly say, “Yes Virginia, there truly is a Santa Claus.”
As in the movie Miracle on 34th Street, consider the following screen credits:
The cast of real people:
The Hernandez Family
Mrs. Anna Hernandez
Mr. Reimondo Hernandez
Erid Hernandez, 13
Havier Hernandez, 10
Anna Hernandez, 8
Josue Hernandez, 3
Produced by Dave and Brenda Patro
Associate Producer – Anonymous (just wished to be listed as “someone who cares”)
The Accordion Playing Santa – Glen Urtes
Master of Ceremonies – Lynda Laskey
Filmed by Sara Blumberg – ABC Channel 2
Covered by Den Boehl – Dundalk Eagle, and an elf from Christmas Town
Darlin Rodriguez – Translator
(Make sure you check out all the pics of Santa‘s visit)
And, even though it is late, let me just say: “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”