Family Credit Ed RodeFor 74 consecutive years, The Santa Train has made its 110-mile run from Shelby, Ky., to Kingsport, Tenn., passing out more than 15 tons of toys and food to children at 14 scheduled stops along the route.  This year Darryl Worley and his family  climbed on board as the celebrity guests, taking an active part in the gift distribution.  Darryl and his wife, Kimberly, and daughter, Savannah, joined Santa at the back of the train to help throw soft toys and stuffed animals into the hands of waiting children.  At many of the stops, they got off the train where they worked with a team of a hundred volunteers, passing out backpacks filled with toys, to the children in the crowds.

SantaThe cool temperatures and rain, which alternated between light drizzle and heavy downpours for much of the early hours, got the day off to a soggy start. But, nothing could dampen the spirits of the folks onboard, or remove the smiles from the faces of  the thousands who were anxiously waiting for the arrival of Santa at their stop. The folks at CSX Railroad, with the help of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Food City and Dignity U Wear, work all year to collect the gifts, and make plans for the event the next year.  One time on the Santa Train will prove that the hard work, planning, and desire to make it better each year definitely pays off.

DSCN1650Darryl told us he didn’t know much about The Santa Train, before he was asked to be a part of it this year.  He said he had heard Patty Loveless sing about it, but that was as much as he knew. (If you aren’t familiar with the song about The Santa Train, you can hear it by clicking here.)  After being on board he said it is something he wants to be a part of to celebrate Christmas.  Darryl referred to the work being done by the volunteers and crew as “God’s Work”.   He loved being out with the people, and said if he were ever asked back, he would definitely do this again. Everyone on the train enjoyed Darryl’s enthusiasm, and the joy he shared with everyone he met.

DSCN1705Between stops, the media on board the train had a chance to talk to Darryl.  He shared stories about his Christmas memories, and how important family was, not just  during the holidays, but always. He remembered holidays  with his family meaning hunting, fishing , picking and singing.  Darryl also shared with us some information about new music coming our way soon.  He is working on a Greatest Hits album, which will include seven new songs. That one he hopes to have out by early 2017.   And, he is working on his first Christian album, which he is hoping to have ready to release mid to late-2017. He was asked about the Darryl Worley Foundation, and the work they do with the Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center. He told us about that, as well as other non-profits that his organization helps, and grants given to help people in need due to special circumstances.  If you would like to know more about Darryl’s foundation, or would like to make a donation, please visit the website.

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When Darryl and his family were not on the platform at the back of the train to throw toys out to the crowd, they would get off the train with the ground crew to help distribute the pre-packed bags to boys and girls in appropriate age groups. This is a major undertaking for the volunteers, who spend countless hours filling different colored bags with toys.  The different colors tell whether the gifts are for boys or girls, and what age group they are to be given to.

DSCN1771When the train ended its run at the Kingsport stop, Darryl was kind enough to join Santa center stage to perform for the large crowd waiting there.  The Kingsport Christmas Parade was about to begin, and when Santa got off the train, and finished his duties on stage that afternoon, he had to take his place on the top of a fire truck to ride in the annual parade.

It was a great day, and I can’t think of a better way to end this article than with more pictures taken during our 2016 trip on the 74th annual Santa Train.  Thank you Food City, CSX Railroad, Dignity U Wear and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce for your donations and countless hours of work to put this together each year. And, thank you Darryl, Kimberly and Savannah Worley for being such great guests this year.  You were a joy to have on board!

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You can find out all the latest news about Darryl on his website, and of course that will give you any tour information, too. In addition to Darryl’s website, visit his Facebook page, and remember to “Like” it while you are there.  You can follow him on Twitter @darrylworley. If you aren’t already following Country’s Chatter on Twitter, we’d love to have you. You will find us @countryschatter.

countryCharity EventMiscellaneousNewsDarryl Worley,Darryl Worley foundation,Dignity U Wear,Food City,kingsport chamber of commerce,The Santa Train,Twitter
For 74 consecutive years, The Santa Train has made its 110-mile run from Shelby, Ky., to Kingsport, Tenn., passing out more than 15 tons of toys and food to children at 14 scheduled stops along the route.  This year Darryl Worley and his family  climbed on board as the...