Local 249 brings Santa to developmentally disabled

By Pat Hayes

Rudolph was still vacationing in Florida and the sleigh was in the shop being readied for Christmas deliveries. So, with characteristic ingenuity, Local 249’s Motorcycle Committee – with help from the elves in the other union standing committees – brought Santa and Mrs. Claus to meet developmentally disabled residents of the Harry S. Truman Neurological Center at the union hall Dec. 8 in a 770 Horsepower Kansas City built Shelby Ford 150.

“You ought to see the joy it brings to their faces. It’s something amazing,” said Motorcycle Committee Chair Josh Curtis.

The Harry S. Truman Children’s Neurological Center was founded in 1949 as the Cerebral Palsy Foundation is now known as the TNC Community. The nonprofit provides support and care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across Missouri. The group advocates for interdependent living, education, and community inclusion for individuals with developmental disabilities.

“The Christmas party you hosted for the individuals we support at TNC Community was absolutely fantastic,” wrote Kelly McGillis, TNC’s Chief Executive Officer in a note to Curtis. “The preparation and effort that went into the celebration really showed.”

The union hall atrium was decorated with multiple Christmas trees and the railings were festooned with garlands as TNC residents met Santa and Mrs. Claus, opened presents delivered by Santa’s elves and sang Christmas carols to celebrate the holiday. More than 50 residents from the TNC Community received holiday gifts.

“I was moved by the incredible joy you brought to everyone – from the visit by Santa and singing of carols together, to the personalized gifts and the way volunteers took time to talk to individuals and make them feel special,” added McGillis.

“The holidays and celebrations like this mean so much to the people that we support. Many of them have no family. They wouldn’t know what it’s
like to have people that love and care about them,” said McGillis.

“It’s all about making their day special because a lot of them have fallen through the cracks. A lot of people don’t come visit them, so we want them to feel special,” Curtis said.