"Thank You Santa" Makes a House Call

December 26, 2012 Updated Dec 26, 2012 at 9:33 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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December 26, 2012 Updated Dec 26, 2012 at 9:33 AM EDT

LANCASTER, NY (WKBW) - After a busy day of delivering presents, Santa Claus had one more stop to make; the Liskiewicz home in Lancaster, where he had a simple message for a young marine.

"I just wanted to say thank you for what you do, Merry Christmas, and welcome home," the man in the red suit and white beard said.

Jeffrey Schuler calls himself one of Santa's helpers, and has been welcoming troops home at the airport for decades. On Christmas night, he made a special house call to David Liskiewicz and his family.

"It's just my way to say thank you. because what they do has given me the opportunity to do what i do," Schuler said.

"Some people don't know or see what we do over there, but him knowing what we do, and knowing how we protect people's freedom, and coming home it really means a lot," David Liskiewicz said.

After months of serving at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and just a year before being deployed overseas, Liskiewicz made it home for the holidays. And with a thank you from Santa, emotions ran high.

"Having him come here, it is a big deal. There is no better feeling to know that other people recognize and are able to let you know that they appreciate your family member serving in the armed forces," David's mother Joanna said through teary eyes.

Schuler grew up as part of a military family, knowing the hardships and wanting to give back. He is retiring after this year, but leaving his mark on thousands of service men and women.

"I know what I've done, and it is just a thank you for them," Schuler said, "because I know for a fact that freedom isn't free."