The chagrin of parents across the province aside, the arrival of the Christmas season has one Grand Falls-Windsor man looking forward.
That man is Bruce Moores and he has a special role to play this holiday season.
As he has done in years past, Moores will play the role of Santa Claus at the Grand Falls-Windsor annual Christmas Parade on Dec. 7. He’ll also make a visit to retirement homes in the community as the man in the red suit. The older generation love to see Santa Claus as much as the children do.
This year's call came just a couple of days ago. Moores never hesitated in giving his affirmation to playing the role again.
In years past, he has gone around the community and asked for children’s names. He keeps them, 120 in total at one time, on a piece of paper that he carries around with him in the sleigh.
When Moores sees one of the kids on the list, he shouts out their name and makes the parade a little more personal for them.
One time, the mother of a parent had her child’s name written on a sign. As Moores drew closer, she raised the sign high enough for Santa to see it.
“The kid didn’t know that his mother was showing his name,” said Moores, his eyes glowing and hands dancing as he told the story. “So, I called out his name and waived.
“It was the fun of the parade.”
Portraying Jolly Saint Nick is just one of the services Moores volunteers for in central Newfoundland and it is a part of why he was recently recognized for his lifetime in public service.
At a gala event in St. John’s on Nov. 14, Moores along with four others from around the province were inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Volunteer Hall of Fame. Robert Wilton of Twillingate was also inducted during the event. See story Page A2.
A smile creeps across Moores’ face thinking about the memory and the glass award that now rests on a table in the space between his living room and his kitchen.
“I am really proud of that award,” said Moores. “It was a great evening.”
The award isn’t the only sign in his apartment that lets people know of Moores' latest accolade. In front of the statue is a green binder labelled Government of Canada House of Assembly.
Inside is a personalized certificate from Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame MP Scott Simms, recognizing Moores for his latest accomplishment. He worked with Simms on multiple campaigns and still helped put up signs for this year’s federal election.
On the morning after the election, Moores was up at 8 a.m. adding ‘thank you’ stickers to Simms’ campaign signs.
Simms flew into St. John’s to be at Moores’ induction ceremony.
Playing the coveted role of Santa Claus isn’t the only place where Moores shines in a volunteer capacity.
He has served as a town councillor for Grand Falls-Windsor, was a 42-year member of the volunteer fire department , a former Grand Falls-Windsor citizen of the year — an honour he shares with his wife Lillian — a member of the town’s heritage society, amongst other roles.
Moores still calls the TV bingo for the Grand Falls-Windsor Fire Department and is at one of the schools in town three days a week delivering supplies for its breakfast program.
“It is a great bit of fun,” he said of helping with the breakfast program. “You’ll see the kids and do a little fist punch with the kids. It is great stuff.”
He was a Scout leader in his hometown of Botwood for 15 years in his earlier days.
All of that and more is represented in his induction into the hall of fame.
Glancing at the award, his eyes gloss over ever so slightly at the thought of the people he helped in that capacity. It as if the time travel he is experiencing in his mind’s eye has settled on a sliver of humbleness.
“When I got involved in scouting, I was only 20 years old,” said Moores. “I still see some of the boys now. I still see the Cub Scouts now.
“It stirs up something.”
Volunteering, you might say, is in his blood.
His mother, Cora, was heavily involved with the Red Cross, her church and the local hospital. The gift shop at the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Centre is named after her.
On the verge of turning 77 — his birthday is on Christmas Day — Moores figures he has some volunteering years left in him. He figures he might go another 20 years.
“Volunteering is a fantastic way to enjoy life,” he said.
Spend a couple of minutes with Moores and there are items that slide into perspective. These items might as well be called Moores’ two truths.
The first truth is that he volunteers because he firmly believes in giving back to the community and helping people.
The other is that there is no reason for anyone not to volunteer.
“I always encourage people to volunteer,” said Moores. “It is good work and you’re helping people. There are people out there that needs help. And, don’t tell me you can’t find a place to volunteer. Here in Grand Falls-Windsor there are a thousand places. The church, the hospitals, the schools. Just go up and say, listen, I want something to do.
“It is so exciting.”