On Dec. 21, the Starks community held its annual Christmas program, but we learned at the last minute, our Santa Claus was unavailable.

So we went looking for a stand-in. At 5 p.m. on a wet and wintry evening, we called Rep. Paul Gilbert, who arrived from Jay for the Christmas event in Starks at 6:30 p.m.

The sleigh arrived with Gilbert and his wife on board. And on top of that, he showed up with his own Santa outfit and all the qualities that we could ever hope for in a Santa: a jovial spirit, a twinkle in his eye and a great Santa voice. The kids loved him!

I just wanted to say “Thanks, Paul, for playing Santa and for always being there for this community.”

Joe McCarthy

New Sharon