Firefighters help Santa with special delivery

By Anna Carrera

Published 12/24 2013 05:10PM

Updated 12/24 2013 06:49PM

URBANA -- Some firefighters were keeping busy on Christmas Eve. They took a trip to hospitals with Santa Claus!

The day before Christmas is always a busy one for Santa, but he and his helpers made time for a special stop.  He brought sleighs full of toys for the good girls and boys at Carle Hospital, like 7-year-old Zavier Winbush. A remote-controlled truck may be just what the doctor ordered to cure Zavier's holiday pain.

"I'm happy," said Zavier. "And I love Christmas and I love every day."

"It was amazing," said Zavier's mother, Heather West. "He's been so upset and disappointed since we got here. He's not had any fun. This was not the family trip we planned, so he was really excited to see Santa."

Santa stopped to see a handful of kids in the pediatrics ward. But he wouldn't have had any gifts to give without the help of the Eastern Prairie Fire Department.

"We've got more toys than we've ever gotten to be able to give out so we're really happy to be able to do it this year," said Eastern Prairie firefighter Corey Sutter. "They're not having the best day when they're here, so they see Santa and their face just lights up. They're very happy."

Santa left more presents in the playroom and even brought candy for the nurses.

His last stop on the 8th floor was to see 4-month-old Godime, who almost smiled when he saw old St. Nick. But with no chimneys around, he took the elevator back down. There's still a lot more to do before he's done for the day.

After the hospital, the group went to hand out more toys to kids in their neighborhood. People from the community donated those presents to the department. They've been doing this for about 20 years now and hope to keep doing it as long as they can.

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