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Ronan fire crews escort Santa on special delivery

RONAN — 'Twas three nights before Christmas and all through the town, so many creatures were stirring you'd think there was a fire somewhere, for crying out loud. 

The Ronan Fire Department escorted a very special visitor to the valley to some very special homes last Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. 

Firefighters gathered at Station One in Ronan during the early evening of Tuesday, Dec. 22 to meet Santa, who made a special early trip to the Mission Valley to deliver presents to "good little boys and girls." The fire crews provided an escort with three fire trucks — Santa parked his sleigh at the fire hall and rode in Engine One. 

Presents were delivered to a select group of children in Ronan and Pablo. With emergency lights flashing, children scurried out of their homes with parents in tow to see what was the matter. 

In the street jolly old St. Nick, with his arms filled with presents, climbed down from the fire truck and personally delivered the special gifts to the children. Faces lit up like Christmas trees as the children looked up at the big man as he explained why he was making a special trip to deliver a present to a very special little boy or girl.

Pictures were taken to document the special evening, then Santa visited with other children in the neighborhood before climbing back aboard his big red sleigh for a trip to yet another special child's home.

Firefighters pitched in to help Santa with the gifts. The annual Ronan Firemen's Christmas program, now in its fifth year, collects money from firemen in the department to purchase gifts for select children in the valley each Christmas season. School counselors help identify children who could most benefit from the program. 

This year $900 was collected from Ronan and Pablo firemen.

"That's the most we've ever collected," project coordinator John Moorhouse noted. 

Gifts were delivered to 33 kids residing in the fire district, including Ronan and Pablo. 

Moorhouse added that the gifts were all purchased within the fire district to add a bit of stimulus to the local economy. The toys ranged from fluffy stuffed animals to dolls, race car tracks, CSI detective kits, and even a few clothing items that were purchased for specific children.

"We enjoy doing it, that's the biggest thing. We enjoy helping out the kids. And hopefully we can keep on doing it," Moorhouse said.

All of the gifts were wrapped with care by firefighters and members of their families.

But they were all delivered by one very special man dressed in red, whose beard could not hide the twinkle of happiness in his eye. Before leaving, Santa also delivered an affectionate pat on the head, a big bear hug, and a heartfelt "thank you for being so good this year."

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