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Special Thanks

Mr. Charles Bergeman – Charles W. Howard Family

Mr. Will Koch – Jim Yellig Family

Mr. Lloyd Martin – Grandson of three postmasters of Santa Claus, Indiana

Mrs. Pat Koch – Daughter of Jim Yellig

Michael Rielly

Paula Werne of Holiday World – Santa Claus, Indiana

Kevin Klosowski of Santa’s Candy Castle – Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa’s Lodge – Santa Claus, Indiana

Sam Militello

Jerry and Diana Owens

Gary Isaacson

Mary Ida Doan

Michael Sypherd

Tom Sheerin

Dutch Schrap

Steve Small

DeAnn Johnson-Wenz

A letter from Phillip L. Wenz after the Santa Claus Convention of March 2009

The Santa Claus Convention is now part of our collective memory and history. Words cannot express the wonderful experiences that DeAnn and I had in Gatlinburg. It took nearly 700 hundred Santas, Mrs. Clauses, elves, helpers and vendors to make up the expo at the beautiful Mills Auditorium and Convention Center. There were many others who could not attend and were very much a part of this gathering.

I would like to take this opportunity to all the people that were a part of this. Special thanks to Tim Mack for being the “glue” that held the convention together. The media chairs, Michael Rielly and Dutch Schrap worked hard before and at the convention. Dutch stepped in when Mike could not make it and did a great job. This was by no accident, as the media plan that was developed was strong. Special thanks to Jerry Owens, Gary Isaacson and David Troutman who worked in the media room and as escorts for reporters.

Great appreciation and thanks to the Santa Claus Oath Committee members who were at the convention:

Jerry Owens / Co-Chairman

Gary Isaacson / Co-Chairman

Danny Nease

Ron Breech

David Troutman

Tom Kliner

Diana Owens

David Hoopes

Penny Hoopes

Dutch Schrap

Tom Long

Ken Fulkerson

Owen Davenport

Barry Walzberg

Lesa Walzberg

Carl Carlucci

Kona Gant

Bill Young

Sam Militello

Dennis Blanden

Harold “Buddy” Norvell

Everett Johnson

Steve Gillham

Dennis Wendling

Gloria Wendling

DeAnn Johnson-Wenz

Special thanks to Keith and Cynthia Burton, who stopped by Holland, Michigan on their way down to the convention to pick up part of the display from Carol Myers of the St. Nicholas Center… and thanks to Carol Myers for providing the display.

Thanks to the chairs, Bob Elkin, Amy Abell, Dana Mack and Tom Zimecki for all their hard work and time.

Thanks to Jim Morrison of the National Christmas Center for bring some of his displays.

Thanks to Steve Small for researching the Santa groups and compiling their information and Tom Sheerin for working on the Traveling Oath Project. Steve and Tom could not make the convention but are very much a part of the convention.

This convention owes a debt of gratitude to the Charles W. Howard family and the Jim Yellig family for being a part of Celebrate Santa.

To Mr. Charles Bergeman, grandson of Charles W. Howard…Thank you and your family for being a part of the Santa Claus Oath.

To Mr. Will Koch, grandson of Jim Yellig…Thank you and your family for being part of the Santa Claus Oath.

To Mrs. Pat Koch, the daughter of Jim Yellig, thank you for your recorded message that was shown during the Oath Ceremony.

To the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School alumni, thank you for letting me speak at your gathering at the Inn at Christmas Place after the convention.

To Paul Werne, Public Relations and Media Director of Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana. Thanks you and your staff for all the help over the last couple months.

To Kevin Klosowski of Santa’s Candy Castle in Santa Claus, Indiana. Thanks for all that you have done behind the scene for the Santa Claus Oath. It is very much appreciated.

To my Mrs. Claus DeAnn, thanks are not enough for all that you have done.

As I took the stage after the Oath slide show, I was given a standing ovation. I truly was humbled and I thank you all for that honor on behalf of all those who helped me on my journey to be standing there at that moment. It is truly appreciated.

If I have forgotten to thank anyone, I thank you now.

The convention is over, but the emotions and memories will last a lifetime. Thank you all and the Santa Claus world for letting me be a part of it.


Phillip L. Wenz

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