Santa saves precious time with help from Alaska State Troopers
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - It isn’t hard to see why some people call Fairbanks the city with the “Golden Heart,” especially during the holidays.
Thursday morning, Santa got a little extra help when the Alaska State troopers and other charitable donations lent a helping hand buying gifts for families in the Fairbanks community.
The crew met at Walmart, packing carts with toys blankets, and other items to set under the trees of Fairbanks families.
Santa Claus, who works with a local non-profit Santa’s Helpers, told us this is such a great opportunity to give back to the community.
“I think it will affect them tremendously,” he said warmly. “There is nothing like opening presents on Christmas morning and having presents that are a total surprise. I think the families will appreciate it. I know the parents appreciate it and I know the troopers appreciate this, but it is a huge benefit to this community.”
As troopers ran the isles filling up their carts, they stopped to think about what they wanted growing up. One trooper said he remembered wanting Hot Wheels and Legos, adding not much has changed since then.
Captain Eric Spitzer of the Alaska State Troopers said excitedly that he wanted nothing more than a Red Rider BB gun, and the thought of “shooting his eye out” didn’t faze him as a child.
He went on to say, “We have to remember the reason for the season, and it’s all about giving. When you look at the word ‘joy’, the joy of the Christmas season is giving to others and the happiness that you see that you get back from that - so we are really excited about this and we are always... we are part of this community. You know, a lot of people think of police officers as ‘those are the police.’ But guess what. We take off our uniforms. We live here, we are part of the community, and we want to be happy and productive.”
Other troopers reflected as well, saying they remembered when growing up that there were so many that did so much to make the holidays special, and this was a way to give back and pay it forward to the younger generations.
Spitzer wanted to remind others that even though it’s the holiday season, there are people out there that may be struggling, and not to forget about them during this time.
“People may be suffering from mental illness or having a hard time,” he said. “Statistically, it is a hard time for suicide, and suicide awareness is something that we are pushing - so if you see someone that is having a hard time, maybe reach out to them and encourage them to seek help. [Suicide] is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and if you are having a hard time, there are those out there that can help.”
Santa Claus wanted to add, “It takes every member to help us to help these families’ needs that are hurting this year for Christmas. The Troopers have stepped up for it, other community members have stepped up for it, but we need everybody to step up.”
When it comes to families who may be struggling financially, Santa added, “If you know a family that needs help, they need to be referred to us because our organization doesn’t know that until someone calls in and says ‘Hey, this family could really use some help.’”
Presents were delivered Thursday to Fairbanks Nissan where they will be packaged and delivered just before Christmastime.
For more information on Santa’s Helpers, visit their website or call (907) 750-0608. There is still an opportunity for volunteers to help deliver gifts to families.
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