It's always a pleasure to rerun a still-relevant, albeit updated, story about good people. And this article about Robert McGhee, first printed in 2014, is such a story.
Most people around Saraland know Robert McGhee for his work as director of Cleveland House, a socialization program for special-needs adults. He has led the Thursday activities there for more than 30 years. This week, the "Cleveland Kids," as they are known, will be in both the Saraland and Satsuma Christmas parades, and they generally occupy a float in a Mardi Gras Parade.
Several years ago, Robert was selected as Saraland Citizen of the Year for his dedication to the group and other voluteer work.
Perhaps some folks would recognize Robert as one of the hardest workers in Saraland Lions Club, whipping up flapjacks for the annual Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, unloading the fruit truck for the Christmas Fruit Sale or collecting money at the twice-a-year Road Block to fill the Lions Club coffers. (He has rceived the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, one of the highest honors given by Lions International.)
Some might even know Robert for his leadership in the CUBB Bowling League for special needs adults. They can be seen having fun at Camellia Lanes every Monday.
It's unlikely, however, that most people know that every year, around mid-December, Robert McGhee dons a bright red velvet suit and glues on a snowy white beard and becomes--Santa Claus. That's right: McGhee has been slipping into the persona of jolly old elf from the North Pole for several years, and entertaining children, disabled veterans, special needs adults and others.
So far this year, he has plans to "be" Santa at Saraland Schools and will play his role for-special needs children at McDavid Jones Elementary School in Citronelle.
He's Santa to the Saraland City workers' annual after the Christmas parade and he'll be on hand to hand out cookies at the Christmas Tree Lighting that same night.
"I stay busy this time of year," Robert said--an understatement!