For years, retired Coast Guard Senior Chief Dave Considine has brought his children to meet the Flying Santa. “It is the highlight of their year. They still yell, ‘Santa’ every time we see a helicopter!” Last year Considine officially joined the Flying Santa team as one of three Santas. This Christmas, he will again don a red suit and join the flights to visit 600 children at 33 stops in six states.
He recalls the thrill of his first stop at West Chop. “The children of Station Menemsha’s crew were waiting. We circled the lighthouse lawn several times so I could wave to the children waving ecstatically below. Once we were safely on the ground you could see the kids were wide-eyed . . . It was great to see the smiles and to help spread some Christmas cheer, especially as most of the children would not have one of their parents there on Christmas morning. That parent would be protecting our coastline and helping mariners in distress.”
Tague, who for 21 years has served as navigator, photographer, and official toy purchaser for Friends of Flying Santa, spends hours reviewing the Coast guard family lists and choosing simple, well-loved gifts for each age group. Like the private helicopter owners and pilots, Tague donates his time, but feels as rewarded as the Wincapaw and Snow families before him. “The parents have as big a smile on their faces as the kids do,” he says. “I’ve even seen Coast Guard men and women in uniform standing out there with no kids—but with an appreciation of the history of the Flying Santa program.”
Sara Hoagland Hunter is the author of nine books for children, including her newest, The Lighthouse Santa. There’s nowhere she’d rather spend Christmas than on Cape Cod with her family.
For more information about Friends of Flying Santa and the history of the program, visit www.flyingsanta.org. For a detailed photographic history of Cape and Islands lighthouses, visit www.lighthouse.cc.