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The holiday spirit often has us racing from place to place to grab the latest deal on an array of presents for family and friends, but sometimes there are gifts that do not have a price tag, they come from the heart and are given freely and openly, truly they are the best kind. Such is the gift Eddie Kulich has hosted and the Manhasset Bay Sportsmen's Club has graciously sponsored for the past 13 years giving special children and adults a holiday party visited by none other than Santa Claus and many wonderful helpers.

The MBSC with donations from Trunz Supermarket, Delux Taxi, Tom's Point Marina, Dede Pakel, Judy Tremante, the Manhasset Fire Department Minutemen (Christmas Tree) and the Flower Hill Fire Department (a wonderful ride on a fire truck) turned an afternoon into a day of joy and magic.

Mr. Kulich and some of Santa's helpers greeted arriving children ushering them into the dining area where water, soda, hot dogs, baked ziti and meatballs were served, prepared with great care by Chief Elf Ronnie and his kitchen elves: Frank, Pat, Ray, George, Gary, Joe, DJ, Richie and Jerry with two sons Nick and Pete.

While feasting, the children were entertained by Barbara the clown who redefined the meaning of a twisted balloon as she made animals, hats and funny objects covering everyone's request. The anticipation of Santa Claus' arrival was slowly building, but nothing compared to the expectation Mr. Kulich encountered one Sunday morning while shopping in a local market. He saw one of his special kids four isles down and was about to give a big hi, but before he could do so little Lisa started to run toward him stopping just in time to give Eddie a big hug and a big question, "Is Santa coming to town again, Poppy?" Eddie said, "You can count on it," the joy in Lisa's eyes helped define what this season is all about. Mr. Kulich is affectionately known by all of the children as Poppy. He goes out of his way to make good things happen by also hosting a Snapper Derby, a picnic and other special events assisted by the MBSC crew. His humanism is deeply appreciated by everyone, most of all the kids he brings happiness to.

Santa arrived just as cake and ice cream was being served to the anticipation of just about everyone. Each child/adult sat with Santa and received a beautifully wrapped gift. Smiles and beams of joy lit the room while the sound of wrapping paper being opened filled one's ears. A special thank you to Barbara, Joan, Wendy, Libby and Debbie, Eddie, Santa, the elves and all of the Manhasset Bay Sportsmen's Club helpers wish everyone a Happy and Healthy Holiday and New Year and never to forget our blessings.


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