To continue celebrating the most wonderful time of the year, we got to know the one and only Father Christmas! Nick has been on staff at Pine Cove for 16 years, and during that time has held many different roles. Enjoy getting to know this amazing, faithful servant!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I was born and raised in Tyler, Texas. I grew up on a berry farm. My parents grew blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. After getting married, my wife and I bought the land that we still live on now, which is a Christmas Tree farm. So we’ve been working with Christmas trees for 30 years. Currently, we still own the property, but my daughter and her family are operating the Christmas tree farm. And my son and his wife bought the blueberry farm that I grew up on. So both of our kids, Heather and Marshal, are continuing the traditions that we had been a part of.
You mentioned your children—what is your family like?
My wife’s name is Nancy. We’ve been married for just a little over 30 years. We have two adult kids, Heather and Marshal. Heather worked at Pine Cove too. She married Burren and they have two kids, Lemuel and Ameilia, and a third baby on the way. My son Marshal is married to Addie, and they have a daughter named Mabel. So I have four grandchildren.
Four grandkids must be such a blast! What do they call you?
Well, only one of them can really say anything audibly, but to them I go by “NickNick.”
How did you get started at Pine Cove?
Before Pine Cove, I was a programmer for 17 years for a company here in Tyler. I realized I wasn’t where I needed to be, so I left and started doing some odd jobs like pouring concrete and substitute teaching. My friend at church, Ray Tate, knew I was looking for work, so he recommended I check out Pine Cove. I had never even heard of Pine Cove even though I was born and raised in Tyler. When considering taking the job, I was hesitant because it was a maintenance job, which was very different than my software job. But I accepted the role and it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made. That was 16 years ago—I started as the plumber and water operator.
What different roles have you held throughout the years here at Pine Cove?
After starting as a plumber and water operator, I transitioned to handling the waste water treatment plant, then eventually I became the utilities manager. Then, I was the Director of Facilities until recently when I moved to the Southeast Region to be the Director of Operations. This is an interim role, so I’ll be here for a year before I move back to Tyler.
How did you get your camp name?
It was simple. I was a father, and I owned a Christmas tree farm! So, it took the staff about two minutes to name me ‘Father Christmas,’ and it stuck. I was named at staff chapel, and it was very high energy. I wasn’t used to it!
Who are some people you admire at Pine Cove and why?
There are just so many! Someone who sticks out the most would be Matt Edwards. Matt was one of my leaders, but he was always someone you could talk straight to. If I had any troubles or concerns in work or in life, I knew I could talk to Matt. He listened well and gave great advice.
Rod Spelbring was the utilities manager when I was the water plant operator. So he was my boss, and he just was one of those men who could do anything he set his mind to. And if he didn’t know how to do something, he would figure it out on the spot. He’s one of the smartest men I’ve ever met. And he was always willing to teach me over and over.
Michael Moore taught me how to ask good questions and how to be patient.
And one of the greatest, Jeff Carter. He is a confidant and prayer warrior.
What are some of your favorite things to do around Tyler with your family?
We’ve always enjoyed Tyler State Park, walking the trails or camping there. As the kids were growing up, we loved taking the RV out and camping at different spots. We always took the RV out for Spring Break. Other than that, I worked at Pine Cove and ran a Christmas Tree farm! So sometimes we were busy, but we also loved going to the movies or going bowling.
It sounds like you made time to have some fun! Do you have a favorite movie?
What are some things you’re currently learning about God?
I could throw a few things out there, but really it’s all going to boil down to His sovereignty. There’s nothing we do or say that He could be caught off guard by. So when we mess up, or try to resist Him, He stays so patient. And then when we’re ready to obey, He’s there.
That’s so encouraging. Is there any certain Scripture you like to meditate on?
That’s an easy one, Matthew 6:33. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” That was the verse we focused on at the Christmas Tree farm. It was always my reminder to just seek Him first, and everything else will fall in place. And I always try to remind people in passing, “This is the day the Lord has made,” which comes from Psalm 118:24.
Posted Dec 12, 2022