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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he lives in Ogdensburg

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I have a confession to make. I am 36 years old, and I believe in Santa Claus.

I believe, because more than 6,000 children in St. Lawrence County will get toys on Christmas this year although their parents couldn’t afford to buy them anything.

Santa doesn’t go by his real name. He calls himself Raymond J. Cutway. He lives in Ogdensburg, and for the last 10 years has been the coordinator for St. Lawrence County Toys for Tots. When he first started, he collected enough toys for 1,165 children on Christmas. Last year, he was able to give two toys apiece to 6,119 kids in St. Lawrence County.

Through a hard economy, he has worked tirelessly to make sure that kids in need can wake up Christmas morning to something under the tree. The number of kids the organization has served has grown exponentially in recent years, and Mr. Cutway has held toy drive after toy drive to make sure he and his fellow volunteers can help as many of them as possible.

Santa has worked hard to help the needy children of this county, but all good things must come to an end. Next year he is reluctantly passing his sleigh reins to another.

This is Mr. Cutway’s last year with Toys for Tots. He tells me that if he had his way, he’d be Santa forever. But his health is such that his doctors are ordering him to take it easy, so he has to hang it up after this Christmas.

I hear he has found somebody to take it over for him, and will work with that person as much as he can to show them the ropes. He wants to make sure Santa doesn’t forget about how many kids in St. Lawrence County need him.

Mr. Cutway and his elves deserve an enormous amount of gratitude for how much they have given over the last decade to help the county’s children. Their efforts over the years have had meaning for every single child they have helped, and for the parents who so desperately wanted to fulfill their child’s Christmas wish but for whatever reason could not.

Mr. Cutway has provided Christmas miracles.

I’m not talking about the ones you see in some cheesy holiday special where somebody’s life is turned upside down and then through some lucky twist of fate everything rights itself.

I am talking about bona fide Christmas miracles for kids who really needed them at a time when their families were down and out.

If you see a box marked “Toys for Tots,” or see the organization’s trailer parked in your community, help Santa make some more miracles by donating a toy or two.

And the next time you see Santa, thank him for all he’s done to help make the holidays brighter for children who need some cheer.

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