Santa Claus keep­ing busy in Isle aux Morts

Bran­don Le­frense pre­serves a beloved Christ­mas tra­di­tion for his com­mu­nity

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY MAR­TINE BLUE

“See­ing other fam­ily and friends in­volved, the stuff that they do within the com­mu­nity, just makes you feel like you want to be a part of it.” —Bran­don Le­frense

It is fit­ting that one of the busiest vol­un­teers in Isle aux Morts turns out to be Santa Claus him­self.

Bran­don Le­frense works as a ser­vice aide on an On­tario ferry ser­vice which runs mid-April through mid-Oc­to­ber. His sched­ule af­fords him the time and en­ergy re­quired to do­nate the other half of the year to his other pas­sion, vol­un­teer and char­ity work. This in­cludes spear­head­ing the an­nual Santa Claus pa­rade as chair­per­son and also as master of cer­e­monies where he gets to wear a flashy red suit.

That’s just a start of a busy sea­son for Le­frense. The pa­rade, which was held Dec. 8 this year, kicked off other beloved is­land tra­di­tions, in­clud­ing break­fast with Santa and the light­ing of the com­mu­nity Christ­mas tree.

Keep­ing the com­mu­nity in­ter­ested in the pa­rade is im­por­tant to Le­frense.

“I keep push­ing just to keep the tra­di­tion alive,” he said. “Through Face­book and hand­ing out let­ters, I am try­ing to get more peo­ple in­volved, more or­ga­ni­za­tions in­volved.

“The last pa­rade had seven en­tries. I would like to see more peo­ple in­volved. In the past cou­ple of years we’ve opened it up to fam­i­lies and ATVs, just to make it a bit longer and more en­joy­able for the kids and the com­mu­nity.”

Le­frense keeps the Christ­mas spirit of giv­ing alive through­out the year through his other vol­un­teer po­si­tions, in­clud­ing be­ing a vol­un­teer fire­fighter and the depart­ment’s sec­re­tary and trea­surer.

He also reg­u­larly helps out with Loyal Or­ange Lodge events such as dart and bingo nights, as well as dances. Le­frense says he is in­spired to do­nate so much of his time and en­ergy through ex­am­ples set by other gen­er­ous folks in Isle aux Morts.

“See­ing other fam­ily and friends in­volved, the stuff that they do within the com­mu­nity, just makes you feel like you want to be a part of it,” he said.

Santa/ Lafrense is gear­ing up for his next pre-Christ­mas pub­lic ap­pear­ance by pre­par­ing treat bags for each child in Isle aux Morts which he will present to stu­dents on the last day of school.

SUB­MIT­TED

Bran­don Le­frense do­nates his time for a va­ri­ety of events and tra­di­tions in Isle aux Morts.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF ERIC SCOTT

The al­ter ego of Bran­don Le­frense.

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