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Man who plays "Santa" for children with Spina Bifida receives award

Man who plays "Santa" for children with Spina Bifida receives award

Each year, Paul Bohannon has one very important role to play.

"You have to be quick witted," he said.

Bohannon is Santa for children with Spina Bifida.

"Usually I have to read through the catalogs I get in the mail to know what toys are out there so when a child tells me what he wants, if it's hard to hear, I'll at least have an idea," he said.

It's something Bohannon's done for more than three decades now.

He works with the organization Nebraska Spina Bifida, to spread Christmas cheer to its little ones and their families.

"It's one of the biggest experiences that you could ever have. Like when you walk through the door at the Christmas party and they all start screaming Santa, Santa, and some run up and give you a hug and then of course there are few that hide their faces because they don't want to be seen, they're shy," said Bohannon.

It's the little things that bring him the most joy.

"Sometimes after Santa leaves and you walk back down the hall, you see the kids out running around the hall trying to figure out where Santa disappeared to," said Bohannon. "It's kind of funny."

His generosity goes way beyond the Santa suit.

Each year he adopts a Spina Bifida family in need, and gives them a Christmas they'd otherwise not have.

"The families, it's a big financial burden," said Bohannon. "They don't have the insurance a lot of people have."

Nominated by Nebraska Spina Bifida, Bohannon is the December 2017 Jefferson Awards winner.

"Just get out there and support families if you see opportunities where there are organizations that are raising money to help the needy," he said. "Volunteering your service is good, and financials is always good too."

It's something Bohannon says he'll never stop doing.

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