“Atlanta couple embodies true meaning of Santa year-round,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Park Springs Members Jack and Trisha Senterfitt

“Atlanta couple embodies true meaning of Santa year-round,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For nearly two decades now, Park Springs Members Jack and Trisha Senterfitt have represented the ideals of Father Christmas and Mrs. Claus. After raising their children and carrying out prominent professional careers, they now spend much of their time in costume spreading holiday cheer in classrooms, photo shoots, parties and parades.

After a stint in the U.S. Army, Senterfitt completed his law degree at Vanderbilt in 1974, and the couple moved to Atlanta where he joined the law firm that would become Alston & Bird. There he was a civil trial lawyer and litigator working on business and personal injury cases. By the time he took early retirement in 2002, he was a partner with the firm. He fully retired from law five years later.

Senterfitt’s first appearance as Santa was at a children’s home when he was still practicing law. “I’ve often joked that in all my time as a trial lawyer, there was usually somebody who was not happy with me,” Senterfitt said. “Now, it’s fun to be Santa Claus and make people smile.”

Mrs. Claus soon joined Santa in visits with children at photo shoots, parades, classroom visits and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In order to interact with more children. “Santa Jack” has learned Spanish and sign language and developed a special sensory program where special needs children of all ages can visit with him in a low-stimulation environment.

In 2010, Senterfitt joined Santa America, a national organization that brings Santa to the homes of special needs and terminally ill children, veterans and military families year-round. Serving with the organization has given him what he calls the “sacred honor” of serving children with afflictions from which there is no recovery. He’s now on the Santa America board and helps organize Santa training symposiums where participants work with experts in areas like autism and childhood trauma. Training as a hospice volunteer is required.

Through tears, Senterfitt relayed the words of the father of a terminally ill child he served a few years ago: “‘I used to think that Santa always said, ‘Ho, ho, ho,’ but now, I understand that what he’s saying is, ‘Hope, hope, hope.’’”

To access the online story, visit the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website here.

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