Opinion

Poulsbo’s own Santa finds joy in making others joyful

At 80 years young, Wally Harrison thrives on making children happy. So much so that the Poulsbo resident has transformed his garage into a year-round Santa’s workshop of sorts, using his idle time to build wooden toy cars.

And just like Santa, Harrison gives these cars away as gifts for children near and far — Colombia, Senegal, Indonesia, Mexico and Tanzania, as well as an area Royal Family Kids Camp, which hosts abused, neglected and abandoned kids. In a matter of days, he can turn a pile of scrap wood into dozens of tools of joy.

The finished cars are handed off to various philanthropic travelers, and away they go ... from Poulsbo, with love.

It’s the simplest of motivations that drive Harrison to continue his act of selfless good will.

While in their 50s, he and his wife, Marge, volunteered in the Peace Corps. During their service, they found themselves traveling to Jamaica, where he found an addiction he still deals with today: making others happy.

He and his wife watched, in awe, as two small boys in Jamaica were entranced with a newfound toy: a rubber band.

“The kids had nothing, they had sticks and rocks to play with,” Harrison said.

Now, 20 years later, Harrison is “selfishly” trying to recapture the joy of making others joyful.

Thus, his garage in Poulsbo Place has transformed into a workshop.

So far, Harrison’s been playing the role of year-round Santa for about nine months.

He’s sent out nearly 700 packages of sheer, unadulterated. child-like joy.

Unlike Santa, however, Harrison doesn’t have a magic sleigh or an unlimited supply of labor to help brighten the day of children living in Third World countries.

He just needs help in bumming space in travelers’ suitcases to stash the cars for delivery abroad.

Those interested in finding joy by making others joyful can contact Harrison at (360) 697-3867.

But be careful ... you just might become an addict.

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