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For Immediate Release:
November 30, 2015
Media Contact:
Lidia Amoretti


Santa Claus Set to Retire After 35 Years

For the past 35 years, Don Rosenthal, a private mortgage insurance sales manager, put on a red suit, black boots, and a white beard – and got into character as Santa Claus. Each holiday season, he transformed into the jolly man in the red suit, and kicked off the holiday season at Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center during an annual parade around the campus. On Tuesday, Don will dress up for the last time, be lifted onto the telescopic hook-and-ladder of a City of Miami Fire Rescue truck, and wave to kids inside the hospital.

“It has always been more than just dressing up, and playing Santa,” said Don Rosenthal, 64.  “It has always been very rewarding to me. I really enjoy kids, and I hope to bring them joy.”

Santa’s Flight, an event created by the Mortgage Bankers Association of South Florida, spreads joy to the kids at Holtz Children’s every holiday season. For nearly 40 years, the association has raised funds that have gone into the planning the event and gifts for patients at the hospital.

Each year, Santa Claus starts off with a parade around the hospital’s campus, accompanied by the marching band from Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School, which performs holiday favorites and entertains the crowd.

Don has been touched by many stories and patients he met in the past 35 years. “I’ve had many patients who have told me all they want for Christmas is to feel better,” remembers Don with a heavy heart.

Don plans to continue volunteering through the Mortgage Bankers Association of South Florida, and has a few words of advice to his successor.  “The new Santa has to be funny, energetic, upbeat, and have tons of personality,” said Don.  The Mortgage Bankers Association of South Florida will continue to kick off the holiday season at Jackson for many years to come.


Don Rosenthal, Santa Claus; Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School Marching Band; City of Miami Department of Fire Rescue personnel; Holtz Children’s Hospital patients


Annual Santa Parade

When: December 01, 2015, 12:00 p.m.

Holtz Children’s Hospital
1611 N.W. 12th Avenue
Miami, FL 33136

Editor's Note:

The parade finale with Santa, the fire truck and the marching band will take place in front of the Jackson emergency room and the Holtz Children’s Hospital portico on Northwest 17th Street, just west of 10th Avenue.

Media can park outside of Ryder Trauma Center, or inside of the Park Plaza East (red) garage, located on Northwest 17th Street and 10th Avenue.

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Jackson Health System
1611 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136