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Robert McCusker carves out holiday cheer for needy kids

December 16, 1997

Robert McCusker carves out holiday cheer for needy kids

Editor's note: The Herald-Mail Co. is highlighting 12 different individuals or groups who make a difference to others during the holiday season.

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

HANCOCK - Something will not permit Robert McCusker to rest when there is something to be done for somebody else.

McCusker, 71, has been dressing in a Santa Claus suit and giving treats to kids since the 1950s, and he takes Christmas treats to youngsters in the hospital in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

"I always enjoy seeing the expressions on children's faces. It means a lot to be able to give a child something and see their reactions," he said.

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Unlike the real Santa, McCusker doesn't need elves to make his toys. He enjoys carving wooden toys, including several he's made for his grandson, Vincent McCusker, 10. One wooden car was raffled off by the Hancock Chamber of Commerce this month as a fund-raiser.

On Friday, McCusker will give away treats to youngsters at the Hancock Community Center.

McCusker, who's lived on Sideling Hill all his life and manages H&H Cold Storage in Hancock, doesn't limit his volunteering to the Christmas season.

"So much of your life, you're doing stuff for yourself. Sometimes, when your family is raised, you find some time to do things for others," he said.

Several times a month, he delivers meals to senior citizens.

"Some of them don't see many people so they are happy to say a word or two," McCusker said.

Most recently, McCusker donated his time and energy to help move Hancock War Memorial Library to higher ground.

McCusker has commanded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hancock Memorial Post 10502 since it started in 1988 and is working on a veterans memorial that would list all the veterans from the Hancock election district who fought from World War I through today.

"He's a man who just never stops giving," said Debbie Cohill, secretary of the Hancock Chamber of Commerce.

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