I would like to take this opportunity to thank a man here in the Quad-Cities. His name is Mike Peppers. He has been making children happy for 47 years as Santa Claus.

It all began in 1960 when he was stationed over in the war-torn country of Vietnam. Mike and some other soldiers got care packages for Christmas from their family and friends. They decided to share the goodies they received with dozen of homeless and suffering Vietnamese children. Mike never forgot the smiles on their faces, so when he got out of service he started playing Santa Claus.

Later he built his ‘Santa mobile’ from used parts of 11 cars, and of course he painted it red. Santa, believe it or not, is on call 365 days a year. He can be found at the Festival of Trees listening to kids sitting on his lap telling him what they want for Christmas. Some children ask for food or something for their mother which brings tears to Santa’s eyes.

He goes to Iowa City to the Veterans Affairs Hospital and visits with as many of the vets as they will let him. He participates in the Fourth of July parade, St. Patrick's Day parade, Toys for Tots, Credit Island Haunted Island Hayrack Rides, Rock Island Arsenal parade, Shriners Hospital for Children, Happy Joe's special needs children events, Ridgecrest Village, and the Senior Light Tour. He's everywhere. Let's show him how much he is appreciated.

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Karen Fischlein