We Still Believe
Executive Vice President
Last year NAPS lost one of its best, Andrew Sozzi, our former Northeast Region Vice President. Andy was beloved by many in our organization. As much as the leadership of NAPS was familiar with Andy, what most of you don’t know about Andy, I want to share with you during this holiday season for Andy was a special person in the eyes of some of the neediest kinds in New York.
During his life, Andy was the cornerstone of the New York Post Office’s “Operation Santa” program where he donned a big red suit and greeted needy children whose only hope for a happy holiday was the generosity and caring of postal employees and citizens of New York who donated their time and gifts to make the Christmas holiday a little brighter for those less fortunate. Andy’s large girth made him a logical candidate for the job, but even more it was the size of his heart that made him perfect for the job.
Andy was always a giving and caring person. As an only child, he committed his time to caring for his widowed mother. Not having a family of his own, he adopted hundreds of children every year as he greeted children who longed to meet Santa and ask for something special for Christmas. The Operation Santa program has had the daunting task of accepting and reviewing upwards of 30,000 requests for assistance in an average holiday season. This put a great strain on organizing and collection donations of cash and gifts, but it was a labor of love for the employees of the New York Post Office.
After a long day at work, Andy would so enjoy donning “the suit” to greet wide-eyed children and attempt to make their wishes come true. Anyone who knew Andy was aware that he liked the temperature cool and he regularly built up a thick sweat when he was forced to wear a suite and tie for work. It didn’t matter how hot that Santa suit got as Andy worked the long line of children anxious to see Santa and hear his bellowing laugh and the warmth of his hugs.
Looking at the material from those happy days with Santa provided from his friends in the New York Post Office caused me to reminisce about the man that we thought we already knew and brought a new dimension to his memory.
Throughout the country, post offices are sponsoring Operation Santa programs every year. Perhaps you might consider checking in with the group in your hometown to see if there is something that you can do in Andy’s memory to make Christmas a little brighter for a child less fortunate.