The staff at the Statue of Liberty learned last week that Santa really exists – and wears green and gray – when they received two giant gift boxes for the staff of Jean Lafitte.
Superintendent Dave Luchsinger offered the following on the gifts the park has received from across the NPS this year, both during the holidays and throughout the recovery from Sandy:
Yes, National Park Service, there is a Santa Claus. Those of us at the Statue of Liberty National Monument can attest to it.
Last week, we at the park received two giant gift boxes from our sister park in Louisiana, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. It was a wonderful gesture of kindness to show those of us going through the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy that there were folks out there who understood and felt our pain.
The boxes contained hundreds of items – from hot sauce to beads, tape measures to Kleenex, candy canes to gumbo recipes. They also contained a lot more; they contained hope, love, and friendship. It reminded us that Santa represents more than a jolly old elf that comes once a year. It is the spirit of giving, and that concept transcends religions, borders – everything.
We had Santas here from all over the country after the storm, helping us to clean up and stabilize our park. They came in the form of incident team members, but we knew who they really were. And it gave us pause to recognize the gifts we are blessed with every day and the many “santas” in our lives. Maybe you can recognize a few in your park.
Santa is the maintenance mechanic who reminded you to put on your work gloves and safety glasses before cutting up a felled tree. He is the law enforcement officer who worked your shift so you could see your child’s play. Santa is the administrative officer who donated her leave to you when you were sick. And Santa is the supervisor who volunteers on weekends working with disadvantaged children. And all this and more is all done without any need or desire for fame or notoriety, because Santa never reveals his identity.
So for all you “doubters” out there, take it from a true believer. Santa is real. He is alive and well and living in Louisiana and elsewhere in the National Park Service. And he or she might be working alongside of you this very minute.