Through his extensive work with Brooksville Main Street and many other community organizations, Dennis Wilfong honored his home city through his endless and selfless record of community service. Dennis and his family have made Christmas happen for many families in need, shopping for and wrapping gifts for them, before Dennis donned a red suit and made deliveries. And come Christmas time every year in Brooksville, Wilfong became a Santa for the city.
When Wilfong passed away on August 26, 2021, at the age of 74, Brooksville Main Street Executive Director Natalie Kahler decided to honor this Brooksville businessman as a Santa in truth. She launched “Santa’s Sleigh” which is a Go Fund Me fund-raiser intended to raise the monies needed to purchase a sleigh in his name. One to be positioned outside in the downtown area throughout the future Christmas season for families to take photos in and create new memories.
The Hernando community came together to raise $6,000 to fund the purchase of this special memorial sleigh, which now stands outside the Hernando County Courthouse. “This is a real sleigh with a harness. A sleigh of wood and metal with vinyl seats, a four-seater 4 feet wide and 8 feet long,” said Kahler.
Kahler credits about 20 donors with making donations ranging from $20 to $730 to purchase the sleigh. “When pledges were stalled, Greg Saxon LLC gave $730 to complete the purchase,” Kahler explained. The sleigh carries with it some very precious cargo, which is a new holiday tradition for the City of Brooksville. “This sleigh is now a part of our Christmas decorations in Brooksville, and as a new holiday tradition, families can come to take photos in the sleigh,” Kahler explained.
As a matter of fact, those who take their photo in the sleigh through Christmas Eve and post to social media with the hashtag “#BVLsleigh” can get the chance to win a $100 gift card to the district retail/restaurant of their choice and other prizes. Winners will be announced on December 27th.
“This is a way for people who remembered this community leader to have a special experience in Dennis’ honor,” said Kahler.
Tammy Manners agrees. She is the daughter of the man who reigned as the Father Christmas of the community. “It’s amazing how much this community loves our family. He gave his whole life to loving Brooksville. And this shows that Brooksville loves us back,” she said.
Note from Megan Hussey: I just wanted to take a moment and wish our readership here at the Hernando Sun a very merry Christmas; one filled with sunshine. It’s my honor to bring you good news every week. Please continue to send your good news notices to [email protected] Show Us Your Sunshine!