GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Christmas comes early at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital Tuesday – but instead of Santa Claus delivering gifts, it was the Green Bay Metro Fire Department.
“You just don’t expect to have that possibly happen at the hospital while you're here,” says Chaplain Mark Cox, Green Bay Metro Fire Department. “And so to have that happen is a pretty cool day for them.”
Cox is also pastor at Central Church in Green Bay, where parishioners donated the gifts.
“We have the opportunity to step into someone's life at a moment that they wouldn't have chosen to have happening. But they're in it. And they just want someone else to come alongside them with something kind,” he says.
Delivering gifts has become an annual tradition for the Green Bay Metro Fire Department, they say, because of the reactions they see when the patients open their gifts.
Like 4-year-old Fiona Libby, who even got her Christmas wish.
“She asked Santa for a baby doll for her sister Tessa,” says Ashley Libby, Fiona’s mom. “She got a baby doll. We'll have to decide if Tessa's really going to get it or not.”
“I think it's just important to recognize that kids when they're here, they are sick, but they're also kids,” says Ashley Thompson, a child life specialist at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital. “So they want to be treated normal and they want to have fun and they want to smile and they don't want to feel sick.”
Besides making the day feel special for the patients, event organizers say it’s about giving back during the holiday season.
“We realize that there's always people who need a helping hand,” Cox says. “There's always someone who needs a helping hand. And I want to say on the flip side, it's always important to remember that we always have the opportunity to help somebody else.”