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School aide can make it to her mother’s grave thanks to a gift from a Secret Santa

<i>East Idaho News</i><br/>Gaydena has worked as a paraprofessional at Snake River High School in Idaho for the past 30 years.
East Idaho News
East Idaho News
Gaydena has worked as a paraprofessional at Snake River High School in Idaho for the past 30 years.

By Nate Eaton

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    IDAHO FALLS, Idaho ( — The team is busy this holiday season helping a local man gift $1 million to deserving people in eastern Idaho. Secret Santa is a real person who wants to remain anonymous and hopes to bless as many individuals in our community as he can.

Gaydena is one of the most caring, loving selfless people you’ll ever meet. For over 30 years, she has been a paraprofessional at Snake River High School. She truly cares about the students she works with, helps them get organized and makes sure they have the resources to be successful.

She is retiring after this school year so she can take care of her husband. She has been a coach for the Snake River Special Olympics team for close to 30 years. It is her passion to help those around her and especially give opportunities to those who would otherwise not have the chance. She loves and treats her Special Olympic Athletes like family.

One of her athletes came down with COVID-19. Gaydena and some other athletes went to the sick athlete’s house with balloons and gifts and visited through a window. It meant so much to the family. The athlete’s mom cried because of the joy and love that Gaydena showed their family.

The pandemic has not been easy on Gaydena. Her mother, who lived in Canada, passed away in April 2020. Because the borders to Canada closed, Gaydena was not able to attend the funeral. The plan was to go to Alberta in September 2021 after the border opened up but she was unable to because money for the trip needed to go toward car repairs.

Secret Santa asked if we could visit Gaydena with an early Christmas present. Watch the video above to see the surprise!

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