Dec 20, 2013 7:26 PM by Akeam Ashford
While millions of Americans prepare to enjoy the holidays with their loved ones, there is a group of families from Ft. Polk that won't have that luxury.
The families of deployed Ft. Polk soldiers are hoping a visit from Santa will help put them in the Christmas spirit.
TIME released its 2013 list of '11 Best Santas in the U.S.'.
On that list is Ft. Polk's Santa Steve, who wears Army fatigues at Christmas parties and greets the children and spouses of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan.
"It's a lot of undo stress. Everybody needs a little happiness. If I'm here, and I can provide that little happiness, then it works," Santa Steve Said.
Santa Steve is no ordinary santa. He's probably the best you'll ever find. He's been to Santa University in Colorado, where he learned how to be all that he can be as jolly ol' Kris Kringle.
"When I have a child go to another Santa and says 'You're not the real Santa, I saw the real Santa on Ft. Polk,' that makes me happy," Santa Steve said.
Santa Steve has gone as far as to learn Spanish and Arabic so that he can chat with the children of linguists at Ft. Polk.
Two years ago, when a 10-year-old girl sat on his lap and told him that her sister died and her mother had not been able to sleep since, he connected the parent to area social work services.
Chelsea Combs brought her four children to see Santa Steve. Combs' husband is among the 250 soldiers currently deployed to Afghanistan. She says it's hard juggling the kids without having her husband home.
"It just means a little bit of something to me that there's so many people who are willing to help you on base. It's important during times like this with part of our families deployed overseas," Combs said.