Santa and First Responders, a Tradition
By Member Joyce Shry
November 26, 2018

Light. We take it for granted, don’t we? In the darkness, we can simply flip a switch and then there is light! And each year at Christmas time we decorate our homes with lights both inside and out.

Traditions…tis the season, right? Even if you are a non-traditionalist in every way, you can’t help but feel all the holiday customs that drive the chill away from our spirits this time of year. There are lights, decorations, food, drink, songs, greetings, and general feelings that envelop the holiday season, whether your holiday is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just ringing in the New Year.

In our profession of firefighting (firefighters, EMTs), you should know that traditions are not only a way of life, but a rite of passage too. Firefighting and Emergency Medical Services is a life, not just a career. Along with this life comes a full culture, complete with its own set of traditions, decorations, and colorful expressions too.

Every year emergency providers in their departments want to, “Help Santa out.” You see…Santa is a very busy man, especially this time of year. Santa wants to be able to travel around and see all the children in the world, but he knows there’s no way he can possibly manage this. Instead, he asks some of the most amazing folks in the world help him out: our firefighters, EMT’s and emergency service rescuers!

Fire stations set aside several days in December to celebrate the wonder of Christmas and the magic of the holiday season. Usually they drive Santa and Mrs. Claus up and down the streets within our communities. Santa stops to talk and give a gift to every child he sees. Santa riding with first responders is quite the sight to see. The most thrilling sign of the holidays is the good old siren crawling slowly through the neighborhood and the flashing of red and white lights on the fire engines, signaling their approach with Santa in tow. Children spill out of houses everywhere and line the streets. Parents stomp the cold away as they huddle with their cameras, waiting to catch a snapshot of their little ones with Santa and the first responders. Their efforts will make a special memory and an unforgettable night for some local children this holiday season.

We don’t always have the income we want or the spare time we want, but we are very, very lucky people. We have a house that is full of love and joy. Christmas traditions fill every niche of our December days and nights. We have a kitchen stuffed with healthy food and scrumptious smells. We have books to read, stories to tell, games to play, memories to cherish, and loved ones to spend all of our time with. But not all of the kids in our fire district have these things. Some of the kids have none of these things.

So when a fire engine pulls up to a house and a child with a wide-open grin and colossal eyes screams, “SSSSantaaaaaaa!!!!!” and does a mad dash to the sleigh, you know that dressing up in the suit and driving around in the cold is completely worth it. With just one treat, this one outreach in our community, the first responders can guarantee to bring at least one present and one moment of joy to all. And they can say to the neighborhood, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Would you like to volunteer?

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