RINCON — Santa Claus has lots of helpers. Carl Rushing is one of them.
Rushing didn’t volunteer for the job, but he quickly grew to love it.
While working for Alltel Telephone Company in Springfield 26 years ago, Rushing was asked by a co-worker if he would fill in for him as Santa at a school.
“I really didn’t want to, but I did it anyway,” Rushing said. “It turned out to be a special ed class. These special kids loved Santa and were sitting in my lap — some 13 and 14 years old — telling me how much they loved me. They were so loving and trusting.
“I went to bless them, but I got the blessing. I was hooked!”
Rushing, now retired, has donned Santa’s familiar red suit every Christmas season since.
“Way back then, I had the fake white hair and beard,” he said. “But the years have taken care of that and now everything is real.”
Rushing views playing Santa as his Christian mission.
“The main reason is that I asked God to use me to make people happy and give me an opportunity to tell them about Jesus,” he said. “He did His part and now I’m trying to do mine.”
See the Nov. 22 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.