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The Community Is Rallying Behind Santa Walt

Real Santa Claus with bag over his shoulder.

This is an amazing story from our news partner WAVE3 about a staple in the community who needs all of our prayers.

At stores and homes over the past 15 years, Santa Walt Queen has had hundreds of thousands of children on his lap. He even has his own Facebook page. “I’ve always hoped I was the ambassador of joy for the Lord,” Queen said. Countless kids have asked him if they’re on the naughty or nice list. “My message to the kids is forgiveness,” Queen said. “No one has done anything they can’t be forgiven for, but you have to acknowledge you’ve done something wrong.”

Santa Walt knows something about forgiveness. On August 10, 1989: one of the most horrific crashes downtown Louisville has ever seen. A speeding trucker hits the barrier hurling a load of improperly secured junk cars into oncoming interstate traffic. Queen’s 18 and 20-year-old daughters never had a chance. As the man who did it sat in court convicted of reckless homicide, awaiting his prison sentence, Queen made a stunning announcement. “Today my wife and I release you,” Queen said at the hearing. “We are not angry at you. We do not hate you. We forgive you.”“The Lord’s Prayer is pretty specific..” “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. It’s not optional.”

Long before Queen would join Santa’s helpers and take requests all day, he asked for something. He asked the judge to change the sentence and give the trucker who killed his daughters probation instead of prison time. The judge granted Queen’s wish. “I think I did what God wanted me to do and that’s forgive him,” Queen said. “Set him free.” 

But then Santa Walt got some more devastating news last week.  “They called me immediately and said you need to get to the hospital right now,” Queen said. “CAT scan, I had a PET scan and then I had a tissue biopsy,” Queen said. “And all of these things kept leading progressively to the fact I had cancer.” Stage 4 cancer to be exact. “My mind says, ‘You’re in big trouble boy,’” Queen said. “But my heart keeps saying, ‘But I’ve got you, I’ve got you.’ And I choose to believe my heart. It’s the same way He told me He had me that horrible day that the girls died. It was a certainty He was gonna take care of me.” Despite that, he still made time for a house call as Santa…bringing joy and a few tears to all he was visiting with. He knew it would be his last visit more than likely. But his attitude is something to behold.

“To have my daughters come up to me and say ‘Dad, we’ve been waiting for you. It’s been a long time.’ That would be special,” Queen said. “I would hope that when I meet the Father, He would say, ‘Job well done, my good and faithful servant.’ That’s all. I don’t need any accolades by any organization, don’t need any of that. Because my organization is heavenly.”

Santa Walt starts chemotherapy on Monday. He knows he’s going to lose his beard. His helpers have started a GoFundMe for living expenses, uncovered medical expenses, and help making sure he and his wife don’t lose their house.

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