A new holiday movie is available this season, and I had the opportunity to play Santa Claus in it.
“Charlie’s Christmas Wish,” available on DVD at major retailers and on demand, is about a soldier, Sgt. Maj. John Frost, who is discharged and sent home a month early from his deployment. While he is happy to be home for Christmas, he discovers his wife, Jill, and son, Jimmy, are too busy to give him the welcome home he anticipated. Also, in his absence, they have adopted a little dog named Charlie, and John is not Charlie’s biggest fan.
John finds solace with fellow vets at the local Moose Lodge, and, when Charlie discovers Hank, a retired Vietnam veteran who has suffered a heart attack and is homeless, John finds his purpose. He rallies friends, family and the community to build new houses for vets to give them a happy Christmas Eve, and a new start in civilian life.
I enjoyed being part of a movie that is a wonderful, clean, family film that touches on a terrible issue we have in our country — homeless veterans. I appreciate our veterans, and I appreciate what they do to keep our country free. I hope the film educates the public on the need of helping our veterans once they come back home to the country they were fighting to protect.
The film also features two Cherokee County firefighters, David Jones and Nicholas Van Weele, who are dispatched by ambulance to pick up Hank, played by Vernon G. Wells, when he has his heart attack, and transport him to a hospital. The majority of the movie was filmed in Cherokee and Gilmer counties. Viewers also will see numerous shots from around Canton and Ball Ground.
The movie stars Aiden Turner (Marvel’s “Agents of SHIELD”), Toni Hudson, Walker Mintz, Richard Tyson, Lindsay Bloom, Diane Ladd (“Christmas Vacation”) and John O’Hurley (“Seinfeld”) as the voice of God. The Lionsgate movie is rated PG, and is approved by the Dove Foundation, whose mission is to “encourage and promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of wholesome family entertainment.”
– Tim Cavender, public information officer for Cherokee County Fire, was inducted in 2014 into the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame. He is celebrating his 48th year of playing Santa.