BURLINGTON, VT – For months firefighters, police officers and other first responders have been collecting toys and gifts to help comfort kids at UVM Children’s Hospital.
On Thursday, they made like Santa, and delivered a bag of goodwill that will be shared with more than 300 children. Any gifts left over will be given out on birthdays and other special days.
Phil Edgerley, a senior firefighter at the Burlington Fire Department, started Operation Fire Cuffs with two other agencies in 2010 as a way to give back to the community. This year, 54 fire, EMS and law enforcement agencies are participating.
“When you’re dealing with tragedy all the time it’s nice to see an event like this that puts smiles on people’s faces,” said Edgerley.
As a former patient at UVM Children’s Hospital, Adrianna Wood knows how wonderful it is to receive presents when you’re not spending the holiday at home.
“If they are going to stay here for the holidays, then we are going to make them happier,” said Wood. “It made me feel more like at home.”
Santa Claus was, of course, on hand for the drop off Thursday. He said he couldn’t have done it without Operation Fire Cuffs.
“All children at some level are saying well if I’m here how is he going to find me and by having the help of Fire Cuffs and other donors providing the toys and the gifts it makes the season much more tangible for them,” he said.