The Dexter Fire Department played Santa Thursday evening, taking, from left to right, Pedro Salcido, his sister Raina, and Katelyn Johnson Christmas shopping at WalMart, transporting the children in first responder vehicles from their homes in Midway to Roswell for the spree. (Mark Wilson Photo)
The Dexter Fire Department got into the spirit of the season, Thursday, by sponsoring children to go to Walmart to pick out Christmas presents.
Fire Chief Justin Powell has a special connection to Santa, who took the children in one of the department’s SUVs.
The fire department worked in conjunction with the Dexter Independent School District, who suggested a number of low-income families. Powell said it was a difficult decision since he felt all the families were deserving.
However, the DFD chose one little girl who said Santa Claus had skipped her family completely the previous year. “We picked the most needy. There were four children in one family and two in the second,” Powell said.
One family with children in high school will receive gifts, but Powell said the older children did not believe in Santa any more, so may decide not to come to the store. Firefighters will also buy special presents, like diapers, for the youngest child, an infant.
Members of the Fire Department pooled their resources and donated to provide this shopping trip. Powell said that this was their way of giving back to the community. “The general public has been more than blessed. These families are so poor they don’t even have a home phone.”
The visit with Santa for two families and the special shopping trip is only one part of Dexter Fire Department’s gift to the community. Around 7 p.m., Saturday, they will host a Winter Wonderland, where the young and the young at heart are invited. “We will have trees and a snowman, cookies and cocoa, and this time, Santa will arrive in a fire truck,” Powell said.
Women across town have been baking goodies to bring to the event. “As of Monday, we had 2,200 cookies already.”
Powell said that the theme for him this Christmas season is charity. “I told my family, ‘I have enough; it is a time to give to others.’”