GALLIPOLIS — Since the passing of Chester “Mike” Polcyn, the Gallipolis City Park Santa Claus, a little over a week ago, his 40 plus years as Saint Nick has arguably cemented his immortality as a community icon of giving with potentially thousands having gathered to mourn his loss.
According to Gallipolis in Lights member Shari Rocchi, members of the community have since been inquiring as to whether or not GIL had any of its remaining holiday Santa shirts from the previous season. The shirts in question have a picture of Polcyn in Santa regalia with the words “Our Santa is better than yours” printed across the chest. The shirts were originally designed by Elisha Biland of Lucky Cat Design and sold by GIL to celebrate the season and Polcyn’s contributions to the area.
“We don’t want folks to think we’re trying to make money (for GIL),” said Rocchi. “We wanted to ask (the community) that if anyone would be interested in purchasing a t-shirt from us, than whatever money we get from that would go towards some kind of memorial. We’re not sure what we would put in the park. We would just like to think of something in memory of him.”
Rocchi said no ideas have been decided upon but that GIL was gauging community interest in the endeavor. Such a memorial would, ideally, be raised during the holiday season as a temporary fixture.
Orders for shirts in 2017 were taken from October into November with sizes from extra small to extra extra extra large as well as child options in grey, white, black and red variations.
While serving as the City Park Santa for 40 years, Polcyn also served on the Gallia County Local Schools Board of Education for 11 years and received multiple awards from various educational and youth-centered organizations throughout his life. He received a commendation from the Gallia County Commissioners. He is remembered as a U.S. Air Force veteran, a 4-H adviser and member of Calvary Christian Church. Polcyn worked with AT&T for 30 years, along with Ohio Bell and Ameritech.
Polcyn first became a Santa when his first child was in kindergarten and the local PTO needed a Santa for holiday activities. Polcyn volunteered and would go on to shoulder a decades long tradition of sitting atop ladder trucks in the Gallipolis Christmas Parade and spending day’s in the City Park Santa House, sharing with families.
Biland can be contacted through the Lucky Cat Design Facebook page, firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-645-5885. Gallipolis in Lights can be contacted at its Facebook page.