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Through the kindness of strangers Santa Claus is still standing

Every day, Nick Rudachuk, 92, says when he gets up in the morning, he looks out his window and he says with some satisfaction, “Santa is still standing.
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Last week, Minnie and Nick Rudachuk wanted Shyla Kaiser to have a close look at the Santa Claus ornament standing in their front yard. Kaiser has become the face of a group of Canora residents who donated towards replacing the original ornament that had been destroyed by vandals.

Every day, Nick Rudachuk, 92, says when he gets up in the morning, he looks out his window and he says with some satisfaction, “Santa is still standing.”

            The daily ritual began with a very unpleasant experience when a 14-foot inflatable Santa lawn ornament was destroyed by vandals on his front yard. He had put it up about a week prior, and when he discovered that it had been destroyed at the end of November, he called the police.

            The police came and took pictures and made note of the tracks left by the vandals. No one has yet been charged and Rudachuk was left just with remnants of the large ornament. It had two-foot holes cut into it.

            Shyla Kaiser heard about the incident from her father, Kyle, and she immediately got the community involved by talking about it on her Facebook posts. Though she didn’t really know Nick and Minnie Rudachuk personally, she declared that it was so wrong for something like that to happen to “the nice old couple on Main Street.”

            Kaiser and her partner, Matthew Sleeva, had a small inflatable Santa which they weren’t using and immediately decided to give it to the Rudachuks. However, it was obvious that the three-foot Santa could not replace the 14-foot lawn ornament.

            What started on Facebook was quite amazing, she said. Numerous people were commenting on her posts and then it was virtually a communal idea to make cash donations so that the destroyed ornament could be replaced. Because Kaiser had first raised the issue on Facebook, she immediately became the person that everyone was seeking out to make donations.

            Within a couple of days, Kaiser had $280 in cash and a card with the signatures of all the donors.

            They even offered to help set it up, said Rudachuk, but he elected to do it with the help of his sons, Carl and Charlie.

            The new Santa ornament cost only about $220, so there was about $60 too much in the envelop from the donors, he said. He and Minnie decided that the money should be donated to a good cause. They considered several local charities but then settled on the Canora Food Bank. They even added a little money to make the donation an even $100.

            Kaiser said she is just happy that the Santa decoration has been replaced. What the Rudachuks decide to do with the extra money is their decision. However, she thought the Food Bank was a wonderful recipient, especially at this time of year.

            So many people are giving her the credit for making all this happen, but Kaiser is the first to say that she was just one of many. About 30 people donated, hoping to right a wrong perpetrated on the “nice old couple on Main Street.”

            Vandalism is always a bad thing, but especially during the Christmas season, nobody deserves that, she said.

            Nick and Minnie said they were very touched by the kindness of Kaiser and all the people who donated.

            “We wish to express our thanks to the kind people of the Town of Canora who so kindly replaced the Santa than someone destroyed. We wish everyone a merry Christmas from the Rudachuk family.”

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