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Visit Santa, help veterans

By: 17 December 2010 One Comment

First Arkansas News readers in the area who want to put a smile on their kids’ faces and help out our military veterans ought to consider heading to the Crooked Hook Catfish Restaurant at 1802 S Highway 161 in Jacksonville between 4 p.m. and about 7 p.m. today and tomorrow (Dec. 17-18 — if you’re reading this post after those dates, you’ve missed out on the fun — subscribe to our RSS feed or opt for convenient email delivery to avoid such a tragedy in the future).

Why? What goes on? The Crooked Hook — with an assist from Arkansas Chapter 1 of Rolling Thunder — has invited Santa to town to so that children can tell him what they want for Christmas, have their picture taken and get some free candy in the process. Barbie Mellinger, quatermaster for the aforementioned Rolling Thunder chapter, said donations will be accepted for the photos and all proceeds raised through the event — every dime, in fact — will go to veterans’ organizations in the area.

“Hopefully, people will find it in their hearts to come out and help a good cause,” she said. “We need to support our veterans.”

Mellinger will be on hand as “Elf Barbie” tonight, while her brother and sister-in-law — David and Janie Shaver — will take on the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  David Shaver, she added, retired from the Air Force after 30 years, having served in both Vietnam and Desert Storm.

Mellinger said this is the second year the event has been hosted at the Crooked Hook. One of the owners — David Toulson — is chaplain and board member of the local Rolling Thunder group.

Mellinger said the end time of the event is not set in stone as Santa doesn’t want to turn away any children who come to see him.

“My brother doesn’t want any child to leave without a smile,” she said.

You can keep up with the Arkansas Rolling Thunder group, its events and community outreach programs by clicking here.

Santa and his crew at the Arkansas Capitol for a Toys for Tots event in December 2010.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =

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