Talon News - Good Local News

Peace Santa

The Man in the Red Hat

 

January 13, 2017

Rashel Korte

Peace Santa Tony Brady at home

Holiday visitors to Aztec are treated to lights, festivals and the Peace Santa. In a red suit, complete with the overcoat, cap, bag and peace sign, Tony Brady can be seen walking around Aztec throughout the Christmas season. He's there throwing up a peace sign to everyone who drives by and talking to anyone who cares to stop or to take pictures.

Tony Brady first came to Aztec, with his parents and 8 siblings, in 1966. He used to be marathon runner, and his travels around Aztec and the surrounding area started after a car accident that put him in a coma for 28 days and left him with a scar running up his right leg. No longer able to compete in marathons he started walking instead. Tony would walk from his house to Aztec and sometimes onto Bloomfield, Farmington and back. This walking led him to meet his wife, Sue Brady. Sue's daughter was out driving when she saw Tony walking on the side of the road and decided to take him home to her mom. They met on a Friday and by Sunday they were living together and have been together ever since.

Every day Tony would walk to where Sue worked at the Good Samaritan Society, to drive her home. The Santa suit was added later when Good Sam was in need of a Santa for their annual Christmas party. Tony was, of course, more than willing. Donning the red suit and a fake beard, he spent the evening talking to residents and their families. This was back in 1996. In the following years a real beard was added and his grandkids helped as Santa's elves. The long jacket Tony wears was a more recent addition and actually used to belong to a mannequin at the now closed Alco. Sue saw it and thinking it would make a perfect addition bought it and took it home, sewing it to fit.

Twenty years later Tony can be seen walking around the tri-cities with his long jacket billowing behind him and a bag of goodies in hand. Just like a real life Santa Claus, Tony spends all year collecting stuffed animals so that every child that comes up to him will get some gifts. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, he passed out around 400 stuffed animals last year. Tony said that hundreds of people would stop every week to take pictures with him and just to see what he was doing.

Tony is someone who spreads a lot of joy to others but takes nothing from it. He won't take payment and any donations he gets he uses to buy more toys or candy to pass out. When asked why he dedicates so much of his time to be the Peace Santa he replied, "To bring a smile to a kids face and a good Christmas memory." Tony started walking around in the Santa suit because the mall charges upwards of $30 for a picture with Santa and many families simply can't afford that. This way children can have a picture and talk to Santa without their parents having to worry about the cost.

Rashel Korte

Peace Santa

Trading in his camouflage baseball hat for a Santa cap is often the only Christmas celebrating Tony and his family do. "We don't put up lights, a Christmas tree or anything." Instead, Tony goes to Christmas parties and community events. He spent 9 hours as Santa Claus in Aztec one day.

His family has their own opinions about what Tony does. His daughter thinks it's hilarious. "You should try going to a restaurant with him in summer, you get little kids pointing at him and saying 'Santa!'" While his wife thinks it's funny, she also has other opinions "He proves that it takes nothing to sit and talk and visit, and it bring so much joy for all age groups. It can really make a difference in someone's life."

Tony and Sue Brady would like to say thank you to all the Aztec businesses that made it possible for the Peace Santa to make so many appearances around town, and to continue bringing joy to so many people during the holiday season.

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