Memories from a retired Shoreline Santa

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The red paper star has pride of
place on the Heivilin's tree each year
By Rod Heivilin

I started as a volunteer with the Shoreline Fire Department in 1972. Both the Easter Egg Hunt and the Santa Christmas ride were well established at that time. No one honestly knows when both traditions began, unfortunately.

I was the Santa on the Richmond Beach engine from 1973 thru 2000. My kids grew up knowing our Christmas at home would have a late start since the engine would be out from before 8am until around 1pm. We often had family events at my in-laws in Toledo, so we would be late arrivals. 

Back in those days Fire Fighters had a spaghetti dinner each fall to raise money to cover the cost of the candy for our two annual events, and selling tickets door to door was a highlight for me.

I can remember, very vividly, going to the Hauck's residence (see Letter to the Editor) and being welcomed when selling tickets, and then getting to see the whole family run out to see Santa (me again) on Christmas morning. I watched that family, and many others, grow up, marry and be there again with children of their own.

On my 25th Santa ride, King TV sent a crew to ride along and watch the fun.

One year a little boy gave me a paper star he had colored. It was made from yellow construction paper, colored with a red felt marker. I don't recall what year that was or exactly what house it came from, but that year and every year since, I hang that star on my Christmas tree.


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