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Real-Life Santa Helps Get 80 Turkeys for Waterford Families

Robert Rossi and his Electric Boat brethren donated 80 turkeys to the Waterford Youth Services’ adopt-a-family program Tuesday.

Robert Rossi is getting a lot of use out of his $700 Santa suit.

The Waterford man already plays Santa for the Goshen and Cohanzie Santa runs. And for the last two years, he’s used it to coax his co-workers into donating to the Waterford Youth Services Bureau.

“I have it, I figured I might as well use it,” Rossi said.

Each year, Electric Boat gives its employees turkey vouchers, redeemable for one turkey, which many of the workers donate. There are many organizations to donate to, but Rossi decided last year he would try to get some of the turkeys for the Waterford Youth Services’ adopt-a-family program, where people “adopt” needy Waterford families for Christmas by giving them food and presents.

To increase his chances of getting the vouchers, he decided to wear his Santa Claus costume to entice his colleagues to donate their voucher to Waterford Youth Services. It worked, as last year he got 55 turkeys, and this year he got more than 80 that he dropped off Tuesday.

Not that he wants much credit. When interviewed Tuesday, Rossi said the real story is about Electric Boat and how the employees give back.

“Don’t write too much about me,” Rossi said. “Write about the Electric Boat employees, they donate too. We hear a lot about employees from other companies donating to different things, but Electric Boat employees donate as well.”

Waterford Youth Services Program Coordinator Erin Eccleston said the 80 turkeys is a “huge help.” The adopt-a-family program helps out about 100 families, so the vast majority of them will be given a turkey donated by an Electric Boat employee, she said.

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