Extol Magazine

OCT-NOV 2016

Extol Magazine Celebrating Southern Indiana is a local publication that covers stories about businesses people places or events throughout the cities of New Albany Jeffersonville Clarksville Sellersburg and Louisville KY

Issue link: https://extol.epubxp.com/i/729879

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Page 52 of 83

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. In fact, there are about 100 of them in Indiana alone. And don't bother gazing at the midnight sky on Christmas Eve. Or doing the all-night spying on your fireplace. It will be much easier to locate them on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and email. Facebook is where Hoosier Santas was started in 2011 by a man in Indianapolis named Larry Shaw, who has embodied the role of Santa Claus for 38 years. Shaw, now 67, plays Santa at schools and nursing homes, office parties and in people's homes. You've seen him and his brethren, as well, in the malls and stores, on sidewalks ringing Salvation Army bells, in hospitals, in gas stations and restaurants, on car dealers' lots and on TV, at fund raisers and charity dinners, in senior communities and homeless shelters, in parades and p h o t o g r a p h e r s ' s t u d i o s , a t b u s i n e s s openings and ribbon-cuttings, churches and store windows. Santa Jerr y Owens appeared on " The Today Show" and did a commercial for Coca-Cola. Santa Fred Imhausen played a set at an Indianapolis Comedy Club. He also rode on the Polar Bear Express when the Indiana Transportation Museum ran a special Christmas train from Indianapolis to "the North Pole" in Noblesville. Santa Rich Clamer threw out the first ball at an Evansville Otters baseball game. Honoring a Beloved Santa Hoosier Santas is spearheading a drive to have one of their own honored w i t h t h e S a g a m o re o f t h e Wa b a s h Award, which is given by the State of Indiana to those who have "contributed to the Hoosier image." Among the winners have been David Letterman, Arie Luyendyk, Jeff Gordon a n d Rya n W h i te. Ho o si e r Sa nt a s i s petitioning to add Santa Jim Yellig to that list. "We, the members of the Santa Claus family and keepers of the Christmas Spirit, come together with one voice to request the great state of Indiana bestow its highest civilian honor to a beloved and legendary Santa, Raymond 'Jim' Yellig," reads the petition. Yellig, a native of Mariah Hill, Ind., served as Santa at Santa Claus Land (in Santa Claus, Ind.) for nearly 40 years, also appearing in parades across the country and on national T V shows. "S a n t a Ji m Ye l l i g e m b o d i e d t h e definition of distinguished service," the petition says. "He served his country during a time of war and then continued to serve in a different capacity once he returned home. He brought happiness to millions of children in Indiana, and across the world. His dedicated and selfless portrayal of Santa Claus, and his devotion to spreading the joy of Christmas, all year round, inspired others to follow in his footsteps. "However," says the petition, "Santa Jim's greatest legacy lies in a tradition he ensured would continue for the enjoyment of future generations. The town of Santa Claus, Ind., has been h e l p i n g S a n t a a n s w e r l e t t e r s f ro m children around the world for over 100 years. Santa Jim was cr itical in assisting with these letters. In 1935, he recruited community members and groups, including the American Legion, to help respond to the blizzard of letters arriving in town ever y year. Thanks to Jim's commitment to the program, Santa's Elves continue to respond to letters each Christmas season. In 2015, the Elves answered over 22,000 letters. It is a tradition that delivers smiles and happiness to children and brings the community together." Hoosier Santas urges people to go online to www.ipetitions.com/petition/ santa-jim-yellig and sign the petition electronically. For more information on Yellig, go to santaclausmuseum.org. A STATEWIDE ORG ANIZ ATION OF SAN TA CL AUSE S ORG ANIZE S, S O CIALIZE S AND TRAIN S, KEEPING THE ST. NICK SPIRIT ALIVE It Might be Hoosier Santas MEMBERS OF THE S OU THERN INDIANA ORG ANIZ ATION SPRE AD CHEER ALL YE AR LONG. THE ROOF? 51

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