FALCONER - Jason Porter certainly won't be getting any coal in his stocking this Christmas.
Porter, a Busti resident and senior at Southwestern Central School District, organized a crew to fix up Santa's House at Coleson Park in the village of Falconer. Porter led the community service project in order to become an Eagle Scout.
Last October, Porter - along with five to six people, during three to four weekends - worked on painting the inside and the outside of Santa's House and renovated the roof and the chimney. Porter estimated between 60 to 70 man-hours went into renovating the structure.
Tony Franchina, Falconer Business Association; Jason Porter, Eagle Scout Troop 187; and Sam Ognibene, Falconer public works superintendent stand next to Santa’s House in Coleson Park in Falconer. Porter renovated and painted the house as his community project to become an Eagle Scout.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
''Santa's House is important for the community. The Christmas season is important for the community,'' he said. ''I figured we could make it look a little bit better.''
Santa's House has been in the park for many years. It is the location where children have their picture taken with Santa during the Christmas parade and holiday season. The building is in Coleson Park, which is named after Bud Coleson, who was a village trustee. For many years, Coleson would dress like Santa for children for pictures at the park.
Sam Ognibene, Falconer public works superintendent, guessed that between 400 and 500 children pass through the house to have their picture taken with Jolly Ole St. Nicholas each year.
''It is nice someone outside the community cared for the kids in the village and wanted to improve the look of Santa's House,'' he said.
When Porter was looking for a project to earn his Eagle Scout status, Ognibene told him about the renovations need on the structure. Porter and Ognibene both go to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which is where Troop 187 meets.
''It has been at least a decade since it had been painted,'' Ognibene said. ''The house has been here for at least 30 years.''
Tony Franchina, Falconer Business Association president, who sponsor the Christmas parade, said he is proud of Porter for the work he has done.
''It was indeed needed,'' he said. ''It is tremendous that Sam came through and had a meeting with Mr. Porter to get this done.''
Porter said he wanted to be an Eagle Scout because it is important to his family and for his future.
''I learned leadership and organizational skills,'' he said.
Porter on Sept. 20 received his Eagle Scout honor.
''It was a great experience. My teachers, classmates and people from church were there to see it,'' he said. ''It was cool to see everyone there supporting me.''