St. Nick asks Rathbun to help light tree

B y Jaime Thomas

The village of Granville’s busy elves have been at it again—this time working to make a young boy feel special.

On Tuesday morning, Village Clerk Rick Roberts and Denise Davies, assistant village clerk, went to Granville Elementary School to a fourth grade classroom. Here, they told the students about someone, who hails from the North Pole, they recently met at a conference.

And this fellow sent a letter to Roberts, which he read aloud to an attentively quiet audience. The note explains that the staff at the North Pole has been tracking the large amount of “Christmas spirit” going on in Granville in anticipation of the village’s large tree-lighting event this Friday, Dec.6.

Then, the letter passed on a special request from Santa himself—the presence of a local child to help Mr. Claus light the tree.

“This honor must be given to someone who has a good heart, and they must have exhibited special qualities throughout the year. We have noted a child in the fourth grade who has shown great bravery, kindness and love throughout the seasons,” the letter read, before asking Nate Rathbun to be at the bandstand Friday evening with a bell Davies presented him.

The other children expressed admiration and awe and Rathbun quietly took the bell and his own copy of the letter, appearing to be delighted at the honor.

Davies credited Roberts for coming up with the idea for 9-year-old Rathbun, whose mother recently died from cancer.

“I think he felt honored,” Davies said. Roberts referenced the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child as a call to “pitch in a bit,” and make the season special for the young boy.

“To me, Christmas is more than just the presents; it’s a time of goodwill. When someone has had a misfortune or had to deal with difficult times, I just think Christmas can be a time of letting the grief go for a little bit and realizing that people care about you,” Roberts said.

Rathbun’s principal, Jane O’Shea, thought Rathbun was feeling a lot of support.

“I think it’s wonderful, and it will be a magical night for the children,” she said.

The tree-lighting ceremony will take place in Veterans Park at 6 p.m.

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