William Leonard, a Santa like no other

Cascader William Leonard collecting toys for the children of his community.

Allow us to introduce William Leonard, our second 2013 “Socio-Hero.” Employed at Norampac Schenectady for the past 18 years, William Leonard is the perfect example of going above and beyond for the benefit of others. Although he’s a warehouse handler by profession, being Santa Claus is his true vocation. Every year, this Cascader gives himself heart and soul to bringing holiday cheer to children from low-income families.

Indeed, his dedication to these kids is nothing new. For the past eight years, William has been collecting new toys for the annual toy drive organized by radio station 99.5 The River, and for the Toys for Tots Foundation, which helps make Christmas a special time for kids from low-income families in his community. The River then gives the toys to various community organizations, such as the Albany County Correctional Facility for Children’s Benefit, and Captain Youth and Family Services. As Christmas draws near, colleagues help William transform his truck into Santa’s sleigh, and he delivers the toys to the Toys for Tots drop location in person.

Combining community and the environment

In addition to giving to the community, William has some ingenious methods for helping the environment as he accomplishes his good deeds. He collects bottles and recyclable cans year round, and uses the money collected to buy toys for the Toys for Tots Foundation. Because he is well-known for his efforts, the people in his community and his co-workers at Norampac support him in his endeavour by donating money and toys. For 2013, he set the ambitious goal of collecting 2000 toys for Toys for Tots!

For William, it’s never enough

It’s safe to say that William has a very positive influence on his colleagues, who give more every year in cash donations, toys, and bottles and cans. In 2012, our “Socio-Hero” was able to meet all the needs of Unity House of Schenectady, a charitable organization that helps low-income families. But that has never been enough for William, who also finds the time to delight many children by playing Santa at three different locations of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In addition, our “Socio-Hero” has been a coach for the junior bowling league for the past 20 years.

A child at heart

One might ask why he feels he needs to do so much for the children in his community. Growing up in a family that didn’t have much, William received one gift at Christmas, and that was enough to make him happy. As an adult, he realized that no child should be left empty-handed on Christmas day, which is why, today, this Cascader is committed to making sure that no child is forgotten, especially during the holiday season.

A gift for the Wounded Warrior Project

The winner of a cheque for $1,000 to be donated to a community organization of his choice, William chose the Wounded Warrior Project, which offers various services for war veterans. It was a choice made in memory of his late father, William Leonard Sr., who served in the Korean War.

Cascades is delighted to have someone so generous and concerned about the well-being of his community as an employee and member of the extended Cascades family. William, you are a true inspiration for all Cascaders. Congratulations!

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About the Author
Anne-Marie Gingras

A Communications Advisor with Cascades since 2011, Anne-Marie now also fulfills the position of Community Manager. She holds a BA in Public Communication from the Université Laval and a Certificate in Marketing from the Université de Trois-Rivières. As Community Manager, she is in constant contact with the public, sharing the company's newest innovations and reporting on its involvement within the communities it calls home. "I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work for a company that is responsible, respectful and transparent. It gives me a great sense of pride! Through social media, we are now able to interact with the population and we value this close contact. Cascades is an organization that encourages creativity and initiative, which allows us to develop in a very stimulating work environment."

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