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Sophomore Mike Neerhof has not done much role-playing while a student at Trinity, but an urgent phone call from the Palos Heights Fire Department changed all that. The Brookfield, Wisconsin student donned a familiar red suit, black boots, and long, gray beard to portray Santa Claus for almost 200 children of area residents at the local fire station Friday, December 5.

The request came after the scheduled Santa cancelled his participation in the festivities at the fire station, which included the lighting of the official Palos Heights Christmas tree. Neerhof underwent his transformation at Baumann's Bakery and then rode on a fire truck to the station, where a long line of eager faces awaited his arrival. Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz and other city administrators were on hand to greet parents and guests.

"It was a lot of fun," said the communication arts and business communication major. "I like little kids, and seeing how excited they were to tell me what they wanted for Christmas was great. Most of the girls wanted American Girl dolls while most of the boys wanted video games."

His role as Santa may not be the last of Neerhof's appearances as a fictional character at the fire station. He was asked to consider returning as the Easter bunny in the spring.

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