America’s Santa, Kennedy Home alum Jim Dyer, enters the Manhattan hotel as heads turn. Dressed in an authentic Santa costume, the “real bearded santa” captures attention everywhere he travels. Stopping at the grand, mahogany check-in counter, he introduces himself.
“I’m Jim Dyer. I have a reservation.”
“I’m sorry sir,” comes the reply. “We do not have a reservation under Dyer, but we do have reservations for Santa Claus. Welcome to The Plaza Athenee.”
Jim Dyer was honored by being selected as the The Spirit of Liberty Foundation’s 2015 America’s Santa.
America’s Santa is the spokesperson for the Foundation’s annual “Operation Christmas Miracle: The Believe in Santa Tour.” The Foundation’s Santa is a goodwill ambassador visiting U.S. military troops around the world. This year Dyer was to visit with the Mayor of Paris, lay wreaths at the November 15 terrorist bombing site in the city, and travel to military hospitals in Germany to visit soldiers – both patients and personnel.
The next day, Dyer was live on the set of the weekday morning news show “Fox and Friends” with the show’s hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocy.
A quick trip to Rockefeller Center and photos with ABC’s Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and NBC TODAY’s Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford was followed by engagements where Dyer was Santa to adoring crowds.
“Everyone wants a picture with Santa,” Dyer muses.
The highlight of his tour was visiting with troops. Dyer, a decorated Vietnam veteran, committed to being America’s Santa to encourage U.S. military personnel and their families.
“Every soldier I met was given a heartfelt ‘thank you’ on behalf of all of us safely stateside,” Dyer asserts.
Dyer lived at Kennedy Home in Kinston from age eight to 16 (1954-1962). Today, he is a Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) Trustee and has been a faithful ambassador for BCH having spoken more than 100 churches across North Carolina.