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Hawley recognized for his many years of service as a volunteer Featured

Last modified on Wednesday, 06 December 2017 16:11
Written by  Wednesday, 06 December 2017 04:08
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Karen Wages, Bob Hawley, Donella Hawley, Sara Powell and Nancy Billings Karen Wages, Bob Hawley, Donella Hawley, Sara Powell and Nancy Billings Photo by David Deaton, OKW News

Poteau, OKLAHOMA - The Poteau Chamber of Commerce presented Bob Hawley with a trophy for his many years of services of being Santa Claus in the Poteau Christmas Parade. “Bob has been Santa for the 10 years that I have been director of the chamber,” said Karen Wages. “We are blessed to have Bob--when he starts a project, he sees it through till the end.”

Hawley has been playing the role of Santa Claus in the Poteau Christmas Parade for over 20 years.

Hawley volunteers for many events that are sponsored by the Poteau Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber relies on volunteers to help at all their events and Hawley loves to do what he can to help the community.

“I enjoy playing Santa in the Christmas parade,” said Hawley. “I find great joy seeing the children’s faces light up when they see Santa at the end of the parade.”

It all began when he asked the then publisher of the Poteau Daily News if he could dress up as Santa Claus – the role he has been playing in the Christmas parade ever since. “I love asking the kids what they want for Christmas” said Hawley, and he usually gets some unique request. “

Hawley has gone through three suits over the years. His wife Donella made his first Santa suit.

Hawley, retired from the LeFlore County EMS, but has not slowed down any. He along with his wife have spent countless hours volunteering, and not just at the Christmas parade. Bob and Donella begin working on the Lights on the Island at Lake Wister, getting all the display ready, stringing lights and adding displays and replace broken or burned out lights. All the lights at the island this year are LED lights and should last longer and burn brighter. Santa also shows up a few nights at the Lights of Island. There are 16 new displays at the lake for 2017 and a total of 168 light display in all.

Volunteers help work the gate each night until Christmas, passing out candy canes and taking donations. Lights are turned on each night by Marty Wages at 6pm and then he comes back to the lake at 9pm to turn all the lights off.
The lights on the island is sponsored by the Poteau Chamber of Commerce and the LeFlore County Development Foundation and solely funded through the community, who come to see the displays each year. “I would like to thank Connie at Walmart who has donated Christmas trees for the lake lights,” said Hawley.

Even Bob and Donella’s grown children help volunteer for chamber events. They as a family volunteer their time to help coordinate the Poteau BalloonFest held in October of each year.

Bob’s grandson, Colton Belt, helps Bob at Christmas as Santa’s helper. Bob daughter, Jennifer, played Mrs. Claus for several years at the Parade.

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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