Ranch & Coast Magazine

December 2022

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Page 45 of 139

Little Tommy's Comin' to Town Tommy Sablan is still stealing hearts with "Breaking & Entering Christmas" B REAKING & ENTERING Christmas" sounds like a bombed movie title on Rotten Tomatoes. Picture Billy Bob ornton as a drunken Santa who robs unsuspecting families during the holidays. In reality, "Breaking & Entering Christmas" is an annual grand display of community compassion. Sure, the tongue-in-cheek name is derived from a felonious act. Yet, over the course of this 26-year- old tradition, just one thing gets stolen: hearts. In 1996, "Little" Tommy Sablan was a young producer for the locally iconic Jeff & Jer radio "Showgram." Sablan screened a phone call off the air. "I picked up the phone and it was some dude who said, 'Hey, Tommy, I just lost my job and I have two little girls,'" he says. e man's name was Richard, and Sablan put him on the air. Richard told listeners he was a single dad and all he wanted was to give his young daughters a good Christmas. His ask? A job interview in the construction field. e station's phone lines lit up. A job interview instantaneously materialized. A light bulb clicked over Sablan's head. While Richard subsequently went on the job interview, Sablan snuck into his house and filled it with new toys. Barbie dolls. Candy. A Christmas tree. Even some cologne for Richard. "I remember the house was in Clairemont near Chargers Street," Sablan recalls. "I knocked and no one was home. I didn't hear any dogs. Back then, I was skinny, so I broke in through a window. I opened the door and set everything up." Risky? Sure, but recall that in the stop-action animation classic Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, Kris Kringle got his gift-giving start while on the wrong side of the law. Focus philanthropy BY RON DONOHO | PHOTO BY VINCENT KNAKAL @ranchandcoast ranchandcoast.com 46 DECEMBER 2022 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE "Little" Tommy Sablan

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