Firefighters spread Christmas cheer to kids at Avera McKennan - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters spread Christmas cheer to kids at Avera McKennan

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For many families the holidays are spent in the hospital, but that doesn't mean these children are forgotten. Firefighters with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue teamed up with Santa himself to help spread a little Christmas cheer.  

Yes Virginia, or should I say Sioux Falls; there is a Santa Claus.
And thanks to the love, generosity, and devotion of Sioux Falls Fire Rescue he's spreading joy at Avera McKennan.  

"We've got a lot of toys, they went shopping yesterday for the toys, wrapped them and we're passing them out today." Said Captain Garett Dulaney.

It's a tradition two decades old but it's one these firefighters will never miss. As a simple toy can mean so much to a hurting child.

"It gives the little kids a sense of hope I think they come in and give their gifts and you know just because they're in the hospital doesn't mean that they can't enjoy Christmas as well." Said Amber VanEssen, who has a daughter recovering in the hospital.

Ian Keisacker is receiving the life-saving gift of bone marrow. But to him, a gift from Santa is just as special.

"It will pick his spirits up huge! Even yesterday the staff here had a few gifts dropped off and they had a very special one picked out for him." Said Nicole Keisacker, Ian's mother.

"Anytime that we can help somebody out in a time of need, and around Christmas time somebody in the hospital that's still time of need this is just a different way that we can help out." Said Captain Dulaney.

While it is St. Nick who gets most of the credit from the kids, the parents know it's the unsung heroes behind the "Man with the bBag" who are showcasing the true meaning of Christmas.

"Thank you so much for thinking of these guys that are in the hospital at this time of year because this isn't easy for the kids and it's tough on siblings, it's tough on family, so it's uplifting to everybody to see some Christmas spirit and joy." Said Keisacker.

Whether it's disguised as a stuffed animal or a set of hot wheels, what Santa has really brought these kids is a little bit of healing and hope.
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