NEWPORT, Ky. — Newport Firefighters Local 45 went above and beyond the call of duty to make a few special squad runs on Christmas Eve – delivering gifts to a few families in need this holiday season.
For many, 2020 is a year they’d probably like to forget, but this holiday season, six Newport families got an opportunity they’ll probably remember for many Christmases to come.
Santa traded in his sleigh for fire engine 901.
“I know what it’s like to grow up like these kids,” said Newport firefighter Audrey Owczarzak. “This is my personal thing that I love to do for Newport firefighters.”
In past years, Santa delivered toys to the houses of each boy and girl, but because of COVID-19, most of the gifts had to be left outside.
“To see us pull up and give them something that makes them happy,” said the jolly old elf himself. “It melts your heart.”
With the help of Joseph Subaru of Florence and The Christ Hospital, Newport Firefighters helped six families including 28 children have gifts, food and other items this holiday season – along with a welcome surprise.
“My oldest son said, ‘I see Santa,’” Newport resident Tiffany Burton said.
Her five kids will get a few gifts, thanks to the support of the community.
“In prior years we've always been able to do it,” Burton said. “This year we just weren't able to. If it weren't for the fire department, my kids wouldn't have anything."
Without the firefighters and their Christmas Eve "Beyond the Call" event.
"It means a lot to me,” Burton said. “My kids have been through trauma in the last year. We became homeless. My mom took us in."
A short stop from the firefighters brings an opportunity for these families to celebrate and share a little bit of love in a tough time.
"It feels like I'm a kid all over again,” Burton said. “Just waiting for them to open it up and see what they have. Not caring about the mess afterward. Just wanting to see their face, and their expression. The magic once again."