For about 20 years, Dewey-Humboldt Mayor Terry Nolan said he has been portraying Santa Claus, starting off at the Vet Center in Prescott helping the veterans, the children and now the grandchildren. Also, for the past four years, Nolan has been Santa Claus for photographer Chad Castigliano’s Santa in the Woods photos, he said.
“I used to be depressed during Christmastime because of stuff in Vietnam,” Nolan said. “Being Santa helps to downplay that attitude. It’s beneficial not only to the kids, but to the people. It’s beneficial to me because I do something for somebody.”
However, after the holidays wind down it’s easy to get into a feeling of post-holiday blues, but you can’t go back into the doldrums, he said. Rather, be thankful for everything you have and try to share some of that with other people, he said.
That’s what Nolan does is help people and keep that same Santa-like spirit alive all year long, he said, stating he does such things as help people move, set up appliances and raise money for people if they’re sick. There was one woman who had been gored by a steer and the family didn’t have any money for the necessary surgery, Nolan said, adding he instigated a program to help raise money and an auction with Humboldt’s American Legion.
“It’s just amazing. You got to help people. If you don’t help people, you’re wasting your time,” he said. “You don’t have to constantly be looking to help people, it’s just when somebody comes by … and they need $50 or $100 or something, if I got it in my pocket, I give it to them. It’s only money and I would have probably just wasted it myself.”
Nolan also mentioned how many people in the community need something and don’t know how to go about accomplishing getting what they need or seeking help to get it. There are a lot of 501c3 organizations in the area that can help people and they don’t know it, he said, noting he also helps guide people towards those organizations so they can get help.
Nolan said what he does isn’t massive, but just little things to help people. Castigliano said it’s surprising that people are always saying how Nolan helped them and brought up that last summer was the first time he’d seen the mayor without a Santa Claus suit.
“He’s like a real life Santa,” Castigliano said. “Not just here.”