Pictured left to right: Howland resident Larry Fenn, Howland Activity Director Traci Luther and her daughter.
Shepherd of the Valley Howland resident Larry Fenn had no idea that growing his beard out would lead to a new alter ego.
Many years ago, Fenn grew his beard during the summer. A friend suggested he should try his hand at playing Santa Clause. He thought she was joking, but shortly after, she made him a full Santa suit. Fenn began to visit local nursing homes in an effort to spread holiday cheer. His wife would dress as Mrs. Clause and accompany him as the residents would visit with him. He enjoyed playing Santa so much that he began visiting private homes.
“I remember visiting two young boys and seeing them peeking out the windows when I pulled into the driveway. They ran out of the house to see me. It was a lot of fun to bring joy to so many people,” Fenn remembered fondly.
Fenn has dressed as Santa several times at Shepherd of the Valley Howland, greeting visitors and taking pictures with them by the Christmas tree. While he enjoyed it, he missed visiting children.
On December 22, Shepherd of the Valley arranged for Fenn to visit the children at Austintown Community Church Preschool. He was able to relive his favorite pastime just in time for Christmas. He lit up as the children told him what they wanted. The visit was a dream come true for both Fenn and the children.