NORMAN, Okla. — For more than 30 years, Donn Mason has portrayed Santa Claus for the Norman Christmas Holiday Parade, bringing Christmas joy to thousands of children that line Main Street every year.
He’ll be missing the parade this year, as well as more than a dozen other events in the Norman area, after he was hit by a vehicle while walking across Elm Avenue Friday evening. Mason injured his hip and right leg in the crash, but Monday morning he said he was in good spirits.
“I really feel bad for the kid who hit me,” he said from Norman Regional Hospital. “I’m doing just fine. Friends have come over and said ‘Hi.’ I don’t like not being Santa, though. It’s my favorite part of the year. I miss it.”
OUPD responded to the incident, and referred The Transcript to the OU Open Records office for information. An open records request was not returned by press time Monday evening. The OU Daily reported Mason was struck around 7:30 p.m. as he and his wife were crossing Elm to see OU’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”
Norman Christmas Holiday Parade chair Janelle Borden said the parade has secured another individual to portray Santa Claus, but Mason’s presence will be missed. The parade committee is also keeping a close eye on the predicted winter weather for this weekend, Borden said, but still plans to hold the parade this Saturday beginning at 6 p.m.
“He’s always such a big part of the parade each year,” she said. “We wish him a speedy recovery.”
A GoFundMe page has been created by his neighbor, Teresa Warren, with a goal of $5,000 to help offset the medical costs and paid activities Mason will miss. More than $1,200 had been raised so far. Mason previously worked for Norman Public Schools as a stage technician before his recent retirement.
Monday morning, Mason was getting ready for his second surgery, this one on his right leg. He said he’s expecting six-to-eight weeks of recovery time, but he’ll be ready to go for the next Christmas season.
“Call me next year,” he said.