This Santa Clause doesn't drive a sleigh, he drives an F-150. Growing up, Lee Harden remembers that Christmases were tough. His mother was a single parent, and she did her best to make sure the holidays were always special, but he knew she struggled.

Nowadays, he tries to be the person that he needed back then. His mother always told him that if you can help people, you do. For the last ten years, Harden has organized fundraisers to buy Christmas gifts for the homeless children at the Wyoming Rescue Mission.

Usually the big fundraiser happens in November at the "Saturday Night Fights" in Casper, owned by Harden Fight company. He tries to do a fundraiser at all the fights to give back to the people in this city where he has lived for most of his life. Because this year's event raised monies for another, pressing matter he raised the funds for the kiddos at his custom apparel shop by making special swag like T-shirts to sell with 100% of the profits going towards the gifts.

Hardin and his son pose in front of several sacks of toys.
Harden and his son beam behind several giant sacks of toys. Courtesy.

In years past, there are usually about 10 or 12 kids living there, but this year there are 28. "A lot of people don't even realize kids live there," says Harden. His budget allows for about $100 per kiddo. They or their parents fill out a form beforehand so he knows what they want in addition to a warm coat and shoes.

"When I first started doing it, I thought it would be all smiles and happiness. But I do struggle because I never feel like I'm doing enough." Harden delivers the toys to the parents so they can wrap them themselves. That exchange can be very emotional. "You're right there. Boots on the ground." It brings him joy, but it's also heart breaking.

Of course, Santa can't do it alone. There's an army of elves, and in this case its friends and family who help make it all possible. "I can't take all the credit," he insists. Tomorrow they'll gather all the gifts and make the final delivery just in time for Christmas.

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