MANATEE COUNTY - “I’m pretty well known as Santa," admits Santa Steve.

It Santa Steve looks familiar its because he’s served  the North Pole Express event as Jolly Old St Nick himself for decades. If you went to school in Manatee County, chances are Santa Steve made several appearances throughout those formative years of learning. But last year, a health scare stopped Santa in his snow tracks.

"They did a triple bypass on me and replaced aortic valve in my heart," said Santa Steve.

With a new lease on life, Santa Steve donned on his red suit and headed back to the north pole for another year as the main attraction for Parrish’s Polar Express. Sadly though, his health issues would take another unexpected turn.

Santa Steve went in to Bay Pines the next day. Doctors there told him he had gangrene, and treatment for that would be a drastic one.

“I can take your foot to save your leg, or I can take your leg to save your life, but if this get into your stomach you’ll be dead.”

With a bit of magic, and a lot of medicine, Santa Steve was officially on the road to recovery.

That’s why even though the holidays are over, we’re spreading some joy by making Santa Steve our Helping Hands sponsored by Carl Reynolds Law recipient.

“I know this is quite a role reversal for you, and hopefully this small token will help in that road to recovery," said Carl Reynolds with Carl Reynolds Law.

With an entire community rallying behind Kris Kringle himself, it’s clear he won’t be getting coal this year.