Secret Santa has a big surprise for a young widow with two children - East Idaho News
Secret Santa

Secret Santa has a big surprise for a young widow with two children

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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.

Natalia lost her husband, Leonid “Leo” Pihulevych, in a tragic car crash in August.

The couple moved to Rexburg six years ago from Ukraine so he could go to school. Leo worked and went to school and they barely got by. He had just graduated when the accident happened and they were planning to move to Southern California so he could work at an accounting firm. Their life and American dream was just beginning.

Leo was driving to pick up a carpet cleaning machine so they could prepare for their move when he tragically lost control on a country road and died.

Natalia is 39 and has two children. Adam is 11 and brilliant. He is learning his fourth language. Mia is 7, shy and very playful.

Natalia chose to stay in Rexburg because this is home and she feels comfortable. The community has become her family.

Since Leo totaled the only car they owned, Natalia has been borrowing cars so she can get her kids to and from school, pick up groceries and drive to Idaho Falls for a low-paying blanket sewing job. She also tries to clean houses when she can.

Natalia is the sweetest, most gracious and humble person you will meet. She wants to live out her husband’s dream of raising their family in Idaho.

Secret Santa asked the East Idaho News elves to take a big surprise to Natalia and her kids. Watch the video above to see the touching visit!