MILLER CITY — Students at Miller City New Cleveland schools got a special surprise visit Friday from Santa and Miller City Volunteer Fire Department firefighters.
Firefighters came to the school in their fire engines with Santa in the passenger seat. They went to each classroom and Santa passed out bags of apples and candy for students that were made possible through funds collected during the fire department’s fundraisers.
Dustin Pester, school principal, said Santa visited grades preschool through third grade.
“Anytime you can bring in the community to the school it is good for both entities. The kids are excited about seeing Santa and to see firemen in a different light,” Pester said. “It’s about believing in something you can’t always see and it gives them reassurance that they have been working hard.”
There were 10 firefighters from Miller City who participated in the event that has been in existence since 1953, according to Jeremy Warnimont, Miller City assistant fire chief.
“Everybody loves Santa and it’s something we can do to give back to our community and help the kids to realize not to be afraid of firemen,” Warnimont said.
Mitchell Barlage, Miller City firefighter, who has served on the fire department for the past two years remembers the firemen visiting his class when he was a student at Miller City New Cleveland.
“I remember Santa and my dad who was on the fire department coming to give us candy bags at the school,” Barlage said.
Second grade students Drew Steffen and Molly Kleman said they enjoyed seeing Santa and meeting the firefighters.
“I want a Play Station 4, Hotwheels and a game,” Steffen said. He likes to open presents for Christmas.
Kleman wore a reindeer shirt and said she wants a toy puppy, robot cat and gymnastics toys for Christmas.
“I was surprised when I was getting a drink and saw Santa,” Kleman said.
Students sat on Santa’s lap and told him what they wanted for Christmas. Requests including iPads, stuffed animals and movies.
Marlene Griffith, Miller City preschool teacher, wore a Santa hat and shirt that said “Santa’s favorite grandma.”
“The kids were excited to see Santa to come in and it was a nice surprise,” Griffith said.
She said the fire department is helpful in the fall when they do a fire prevention presentation at the school during Fire Prevention Week.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.