GALLIPOLIS — After serving as the Gallipolis City Park Santa Claus for more than 40 years, Chester Polcyn was recognized by the Gallia County Commissioners for his years of service to Gallia families.
“We’re very happy to have you,” said Commissioner Harold Montgomery. “A proclamation by the Gallia Board of Commissioners recognizes the service of Chester Michael Polcyn as Santa Claus, whereas the members of the Gallia County Commissioners recognize Mr. Polcyn for devoutly serving as Gallia County’s very own Santa Claus to the Gallia County Community for over 40 years,whereas Mr. Polcyn served on the Gallia County Local Schools Board from January 2000 to December 2011, whereas Mr. Polcyn, through these commitments, has contributed greatly to the well-being of children in Gallia as well as the strengthening of families in the overall community…Therefore, be it resolved that we the Gallia County Board of Commissioners hereby commend Chester Michael Polcyn for his service to Gallia County citizens and congratulate him upon his retirement.”
Polcyn retired as Santa Claus last year and recently left the hospital after facing medical complications. Polcyn has long credited his wife Karen for her support in his role as Santa.
According to information provided to the Gallia Commissioners and shared with the Tribune, Polcyn first started his journey as a seasonal symbol of giving when his first-born was in kindergarten. The PTO needed a Santa to pass out treats and Polcyn agreed. The following year, Polcyn had his own suit and had grown a beard. Polcyn’s first appearance in the Gallipolis Christmas Parade started a years’ long tradition of Santa riding on a firetruck ladder, waving to families as he passed.
Polcyn survived heart complications and after being released from the hospital roughly 20 years ago, he persisted to return to City Park and sit as its Santa. He continued to do so until suffering a broken leg in 2016 which prevented him from returning.
Gallia Commissioners thanked Polcyn for his years of service and shared personal stories featuring their encounters with Santa. Montgomery remembered a time his granddaughter saw Polcyn outside the Christmas season but recognized him during a meal and wanted to speak with him.
“He was Santa year round,” said Montgomery. “And there are thousands here who will appreciate and remember him for that.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.