For a number of Westport families, Santa Claus came early this year.
Spoiler alert: If you are below the age of 10, do not read further!
The Westport Fire Department does many things well. They put out fires, serve as first responders, and bail out our basements.
This year they also traveled from home to home on the weekend before Christmas, bringing holiday cheer from one end of town (Green’s Farms) to the other (Saugatuck Shores).
That holiday cheer included Santa.
Working through the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation — and organized by Lieutenant Brett Kirby of Engine Company 4 — firemen headed out on their trucks last Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.
They visited over 95 homes that signed up in advance. Kids — and adults — were thrilled to see firemen escorting Santa Claus to the front door. The WFD encouraged single stops for friends, making the “Santa Run” a neighborhood event.
But Santa never comes empty-handed. He delivered pre-provided (and pre-wrapped) gifts, too.
Santa and his elves — er, the firefighters — asked for a minimum donation of $25 per child (paid, obviously, out of sight). The funds benefit local charities.
Peggy Ann Kelly says, “It was one of the sweetest nights of our kids’ little lives! The surprise of it all — lights, sirens, a very boisterous Santa belting out ‘HO HO HO’ as he strolled up the driveway — it was just really special. And it made me love living in this town even more.”
“The Santa Run was amazing!” adds grateful father Jeff Manchester.
“My kids could hardly sleep that night. The ‘real Santa’ showed up on a fire truck at their door!”
Jeff’s oldest child — 8 years old — was wearing pajama footies with fire trucks. “I’m not sure who was more impressed,” Jeff says. “Logan with Santa and the fireman, or the fireman with those PJs.”
Our town has lost some Christmas traditions — like the trees that once graced Parker Harder Plaza. This was the 1st year of the Westport Fire Department’s Santa Run.
Hopefully, it will be a memory-maker for years to come.