Sometimes, when Santa Claus brings Christmas gifts, he doesn’t use a red sleigh. It may be a red fire engine.
Firefighters in uniform from the La Crosse Fire Department performed Santa Claus duty Thursday, delivering presents to the Mayo hospital for kids who are getting treatment during the holidays.
Fire engineer Troy Glasel said it’s a local holiday tradition for the department.
“As a (union) local, we come together,” Glasel said, “and we go out shopping, we go out and buy the gifts, and we communicate and talk about how we’re all going to get together and coordinate it, and show up and drop ’em off.”
Glasel added that providing toys or blankets to children at the hospital is another way that firefighters can serve the community.
Mayo Clinic Health System childlife specialist Jessica Wadium in La Crosse said the children appreciate presents, like new blankets.
“These are comfort items and comfort items bring exactly that,” Wadium said. “If you hand a child a hospital blanket or if you hand them a fuzzy warm blanket, they’re gonna want the fuzzy warm blanket because it’s a sense of home.”
The gifts delivered by the firemen also included toys and kid-sized fire helmets.