Newport firefighters go 'beyond the call' for families in need

NEWPORT, Ky. -- Some local firefighters have been going "beyond the call" for more than two decades.

As part of its Beyond The Call program, members of Newport Professional Firefighters Local 45 ride a fire engine to deliver Christmas gifts for children. 

"We pull up, we have the lights on. The kids, sometimes they know, sometimes they don't that Santa Claus is coming. That's a surprise for them," Local 45 President Jake Silvati said. "And then when we're at the house, we let them open up one gift from Santa Claus. That's really special for them.

This year, the firefighters brought presents, warm clothes and dinner for 24 children from seven different families in need. 

The firefighters have given happy holiday seasons to 405 children over the past 24 years. 

"We deal with people in need, that's why we're here," Silvati said. "This is a way for us to give back on a happy note. It's important for us, just as it is for the families in Newport."

The program was made possible thanks to community donations, according to Silvati. He said anyone interested in contributing can visit Local 45's website. 

A local brewery has also helped support the cause. Wooden Cask Brewing Company worked with Local 45 on a beer and is donating $1 from each pint sold. 

Brewery owner Randy Schiltz said they've donated about $3,500 so far. They opened a little more than a year ago.

"It's something we were looking for: a community-based charity to work with," he said. "We're not only supporting the firefighters, but the families they help. Those are Newport families that get helped. It's kind of a win-win."

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