By Dave Walters
It’s that time of year again. It’s time for me to make my list and check twice. It’s time to play Santa and give out my gifts for those who have been naughty or nice.
Which list did you or someone you know make it onto? Too be honest, most people made the nice list. Remember, I said most people.
Let us start with the nicest of all – the healthcare workers in our community. This year I give to you a holiday of your very own where you can receive all the respect you earned during the unprecedented year. Let’s dedicate New Year’s Eve as National Health Care Workers Day. What better way to send off 2020 with a holiday dedicated to those who risked their own lives and the lives of their families to help the people of their community.
My friends at the Zephyrhills Police Department are getting a public information officer. Not the one they hoped for, but one that will hopefully let the residents of Zephyrhills know of the great work that you do. If not, call me. I’ll take care of it.
While on the topic of ZPD, let’s dig into Santa’s bag and give Captain Reggie Roberts that Doctorate Degree that he is working so hard towards. I cannot wait to call him Dr. Reggie. ZPD K9 officer Lorenzo Limoges gets more drug sniff for Bolt. That dog is happiest when he is working, and he’s been a really good boy this year. For Lt. Matt Hillen and Lt. Nate Gardner, these two get a few more Swamp Donkeys.
Let’s go around the corner from the police station to Zephyrhills High School. For my friend Dr. Christina Stanley, she gets a pandemic-free school year. No educator or administrator should have to play the hand they have been given. Assistant principal Matt Hayes gets video footage of Hunter Hayes’ first steps that he can watch over and over again while reflecting on the journey to get those magical steps.
Zephyrhills Football coach Nick Carroll gets more home playoff games with a reserved seat for Superintendent Kurt Browning. My brother Joey Galyan gets nothing but clean scans. Keep up the fight. ZHS girls’ basketball coach Chris Smith gets a trip to South Bend. Boys’ basketball coach Mike Novak gets a run through the regional playoffs. The spring sports coaches get a full season in 2021.
Everybody’s mom, Angela Huffman, gets a bottomless box of tissues for this upcoming graduation. It will be a tear-jerker as she sheds tears of joy as her Class of 2021 babies cross the stage. While talking about amazing women, Santa gives his friend Patty Pickett a year’s supply of gasoline to get her to all the events her kids are involved in.
My dear friend Larry Johnston and his lovely wife Susan, better known as LollyPop Santa and Mrs. Claus, get no more health scares and hundreds of children who still believe. To the great eye behind the camera in Dade City, Richard Riley, you get a few more hours a day to make it to all those events.
Now Justin Davis: this Carolina Panther fan did not have much to cheer about this year and we need to get this guy looking spiffy. I know Cam is gone, but Justin gets Cam’s wardrobe for Christmas. I can see him with the hat and scarf making walking through Alpha Village.
Everybody has those people they would love to meet. For my friend Tom Rufe, you get a visit from Brian Kelly and Lou Holtz. Sam and Winnie Turgeon get more time to take those weekend getaway trips. My favorite local author Julie Moore gets her new book, “The Pet Soul Book” on the New York Times Bestseller List.
Let’s get to those elected officials. Danny Burgess, our new state senator, gets two terms before he heads to bigger and better things in Washington. Our City Council president Charlie Proctor gets plenty of dirty cars, while Alan Knight gets tickets to the Gator National Championship game in 2022. Councilwoman Jodi Wilkeson get more funds for the successful Daughters of the American Revolution causes. Councilman Lance Smith gets a hot sauce holster.
Santa would like to see City Attorney Matt Maggard receive a son to his house full of Maggard girls. For City Manager Billy Poe, I would love to see you get more family photos. Also, I hope you never need another Public Information Officer. For City Clerk Lori Hillman, you get someone else to handle public records requests.
Zephyrhills CRA Director Gail Hamilton gets tenants for the Jeffries House and the Carriage House after the city has poured more than $400,000 into both with intentions to lease them out to recover the expenses.
I reach into my bag and pull out a COVID Pinata for Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce CEO Melonie Monson. She earned one of her own with the lovely little bottles of holiday cheer. Just down the street, Main Street Event Coordinator Paxton McCullough gets an event that includes elected city officials in attendance. Her tree lighting was void of any city council members, the mayor or any department directors. Do not worry Paxton, I am sure if there is a Founder’s Day Parade, they will be waving from their cars.
To the great guys and gals who are now manning Fire Stations 25 and 29 in Zephyrhills as members of Pasco County Fire Rescue, you get cool logos that exemplify the history of Zephyrhills.
I cannot forget Spence Jones over at Zephyrhills Christian Academy. This guy gets more photos of him coaching for his social media accounts. Mike Smith and his Warriors get to show the county that ZCA deserves more respect.
To Damien Pickett, the Executive Director of the Zephyrhills Athletic League, he gets to watch his teams all advance to the Super Bowl. Santa also would like to thank his Miami Hurricanes for their performance against North Carolina. The Canes put the Irish into the College Football Playoff. Speaking of ZAL, Dave Giles and Marvin Johnson both get undefeated runs to make Zephyrhills the “Title Town” of youth football.
Santa is going into the construction business and he is giving Anna Poe more wall space for all those family photos. For her daughter-in-law Kim Poe, you get time to breathe between sporting events. My friends Cody and Vivian Keeling get more grandchildren to spoil.
A long-time friend that I do not see enough, Cheryl Alair, gets more time to spend with her new pup Stella. To the man in the white hat Jack Rhoden, you get smoke turkeys for everyone. My new friend Beth Ray Aker gets an awesome grand opening for East Pasco Meals on Wheels.
Sometimes Santa must spew the truth. Devon Alexander gets to see his Buckeyes play more games than a middle school team to get into the College Football Playoff. Sorry big man. I had to take a shot. But seriously, I know there are a lot of Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson fans out there, so Santa has to say Go Irish!
Now that Santa’s college football smack talk is over, he wants to wish his partner in crime Chris Drews a Christmas where he cherishes the memories of the past and keeps those who are not with us very close.
To my family, which keeps growing, Santa wishes you nothing but happiness and good health. His gift to you is a return to our family dinner night. Those are more of a gift to me.
Merry Christmas to all!