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Santa’s local helper builds Christmas toys for children

Aquelio Acosta of Locust Hill and his homemade wooden toys

by Larry Chowning

The North Pole is Santa’s main workshop but a branch of that workshop is located at Mizpah Health Care Center at Locust Hill where Santa’s helper, Aquelio Acosta, is making wooden toys for Christmas morning.

Acosta, 76, a resident at Mizpah, arises each morning at 5 a.m. and creates little wooden toys with one thing in mind—to give a child a treasure on Christmas morning.

He learned to work with wood when he was in high school and now that he is retired and living at Mizpah his hobby has become making wooden toys. “I just want to make someone happy at Christmas,” said Acosta. “I remember as a boy being so happy on Christmas morning when I got my own toys.”

Acosta makes wooden two-masted sailing vessels, train locomotives, a variety of sport cars, jet planes, helicopters, bird feeders and bird houses. He also enjoys painting and has created paintings of parrots, tigers and dragons. He is currently making a medallion and coin display case out of wood.

Acosta grew up in New York City, lived in California for a while, and spent 22 years in Puerto Rico working in the concrete business. He has been living at Mizpah for 2.5 years.

“I can see the water and the boats and I like the food here,” he said. “I like to spend my time doing something for others, and that’s why I make the toys.”

Acosta grew up having a strong work ethic. “I get up early and do things. When I was 10 years old, I got a job at a bakery delivering bread to Chinatown and other places in New York,” he said. “I learned early about going to work, making a living, and doing the right thing.

“I always tried to make my own way in life,” Acosta continued. “I hope my toys will make somebody happy this Christmas. You know, being happy is an important part of life. I’m happy here at Mizpah.”

posted 12.18.2013

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