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Travis Cole, Packaging Team Leader 2, at work and suited up, ready to spread some holiday cheer! Travis Cole has worked in the packaging department of the Tillamook plant for 17 years and has been a team leader for the last 16 years. He’s sort of the go-to guy with all the answers.

Travis is a 10 year veteran of one of the local volunteer fire departments, and he stays busy on his 160 acre beef ranch, giving bull riding lessons to little tykes (they start em’ off at five years old!). During the holiday season you can find him decked out from head to toe as Santa.

Travis has been playing the role of Santa for 23 years, a tradition handed down to him from his dad who had done it for as long as Travis can remember. It started off as something that he did for friends and family, showing up to Christmas dinner to hand out gifts, but it quickly turned into more. Donating his time (and suit) to local merchants, charities, schools and organization dinners, he estimates he’s had his photo taken with thousands of kids.

His favorite Santa memory was when one of the large chain grocery stores sponsored a family and asked him to deliver the gifts. The dad had been seriously injured in an accident, and the store employees pitched in to provide a holiday meal and gifts for the kids. They had no idea Santa would be knocking at their door. Travis said the excitement of the whole family was overwhelming.

When asked what it takes to be a good Santa, Travis chuckled and said “a big belly… and you have to be good with the kids, talk to them and make them comfortable so that their mom or dad can get that perfect picture. Then everyone is happy.”

I think it has more to do with his big heart and that twinkle in his eye. I’m proud to have a coworker like Travis — it’s people like him that make our community shine.

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