SEKY December 2021 - Page 30

Santa ’ s Holiday Helpers : Alexander and Cate are local ho-ho-heroes

By Christopher Harris Commonwealth Journal
Every child knows that Santa Claus runs a big operation . Up at the North Pole , the elf workforce is busy yearround , making the toys and training the reindeer to fly . But elsewhere around the world , Santa needs some volunteers .
Here in Pulaski County , a couple of those kind souls who make it a point each year to help out the big guy are John Alexander and Tommy Cate .
For any kids reading this , here ’ s Santa ’ s secret : Since he has so much to do around the holiday season — making public appearances to listen to a child ’ s wishes , being the featured guest at parades , and of course overseeing the all-important toy production and distribution — he enlists help in getting it all done . The spirit of Santa imbues those who choose to lend a helping hand , essentially turning them into Santa himself , so that kids get to interact with the real thing even while the original corporeal Santa is training for the big day — drinking raw eggs , running up the museum steps , all that ( Vince Guaraldi ) jazz .
All that one needs to take on the local role of Santa for a short time is an open heart and a love of children of all kinds and all backgrounds . Certainly , that ’ s a good way to describe both Cate and Alexander , who have made it a holiday tradition to lend their time to Santa ’ s cause , and in return , get to warm their hearts by the light of a child ’ s smile .
Cate , a geologist in the oil and gas business with Fireborn Land & Energy was well as an accomplished harmonica player who typically plays with Kevin Dalton & the Tuesday Blooms among others , has been married for 44 years with two children and three grandchildren , a fourth on the way . Certainly , he ’ s well-acquainted with the importance of Christmas to children , and when he found the opportunity to sign up as a Santa stand-in , he knew it was something he wanted to do .
“ Around 20 years ago my wife was working at our Church where the Pre- School program needed a visit from Santa and they had an old suit ,” said
Tommy Cate is one of Somerset ’ s resident Santa Claus stand-ins . l Photo by Christopher Harris
30 • SEKY - Life in Southeast Kentucky December 2021