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Santa's on the road in Grandview

GRANDVIEW - Santa is making a post-Thanksgiving visit this Saturday in Grandview.

The jolly old gent will be visiting at a Grandview business to greet customers and listen to children's wishes.

At noon Santa will show up at Les Schwab Tire Center at 812 Wine Country Road to spend an hour in holiday chit-chat with anyone who happens by.

Parents are invited to tag along with their children, and take cameras to capture the moment for future Christmas memories.

The free event is compliments of American Veterans Post 711 in Grandview.

Don't tell the kids, but underneath the red suit and beard will be Darrell Riel, commander of the Post, who happens to be bilingual, as any Santa worth his salt should be.

Santa Riel's visit will be the first the Post is offering to Valley businesses this season. The Post is charging nothing for what its members are calling Santa Sightings, but a donation from a business will be accepted.

Any money the Post realizes from this endeavor will go into their Veterans Relief Fund, which helps local families dealing with problems associated with soldiers who are in foreign countries or military personnel who may have returned with a debilitating illness or injury.

"Our aim is three-fold," said Riel. "To create early Christmas spirit, remember our veterans during the holiday season and boost local commerce."

Riel is being assisted with this new project by Keith Jenks, adjutant of the Post, who just completed an eight-year military stint, serving four years on active duty with the U.S. Army and four in the Reserves.

Any business who would like to have a Santa Sighting at its location, should call Santa's helper, Keith Jenks, at 509-831-6245.

AmVet Post 711 was organized just three years ago. "We're a young post and we're still struggling," said Jenks, who added that the Post is 16 strong at this time and its members want to get more involved with the community. They meet the second Sunday of each month in Grandview at 481 Woodall Road. Any veteran who would like to join them is welcome to do so, and may call Jenks for more information.

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