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Santa spreads cheer at Manteca Care
Santa delivers presents to Lavonne Pawloski as part of the Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Center Christmas party. - photo by HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin

Christmas was good to Pat Murchison.
The resident of Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Center proudly displayed her ring, watch and bracelet made possible by those participating in the Giving Tree at Precision Auto at the annual Christmas Holiday Party on Thursday.
“I even got this beautiful scarf that I didn’t even ask for,” Murchison said. “Santa was good to me – he’s always good to me.”
Santa, in this case, was Charles Pederson, who has an in-law staying at this care and rehab facility at 410 Eastwood Ave. “I’ve enjoyed doing this (dressing up like Santa Claus) for the past five years,” he said.
Pederson also grew out his beard for the role of Jolly Old St Nick.
His job was to again help staff with the distribution of gifts from the Giving Tree.
Debbie Robles, who is the activities director at the local care and rehabilitation center, said that the wish list for those in the facility was placed as an ornament on the tree located inside Precision Automotive during the holidays.
“They’ll list anything, from pajamas and sweaters to candy to (costume) jewelry,” she said.
Folks fulfill the wishes by adopting a ‘bulb’ and purchasing what’s on the list. If worse comes to worse, those at Manteca Care and Rehabilitation will step up and make sure that all residents receive a gift, Robles added.
Resident Jay Johnson received wish-list items and more.
“I didn’t even ask for slippers and got that and some socks. My other slippers were torn up”’ he said.
Johnson, who has been at the rehab center for over two years, did get his wish for an adult coloring book along with color pencils and sharpener, to boot.
Dennis Hegman, 94, has been at Manteca Care and Rehabilitation for about six years. For his wish-list gift, he received a snowman decoration, toiletries, and cookies.
In addition, family members of the residents often share in the moment by attending this Christmas Eve event.
According to Robles, 138 gifts were distributed to residents at the Manteca Care and Rehabilitation Center.
This is the ninth year of this holiday celebration, which is a favorite occasion for both staff and residents.