MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA)– It was an unlikely gift from Santa Claus’s sleigh. “Coming to the station and finding gifts and stuff. It was really nice but we were not expecting it at all,” said Xandra Young with the Wabash Fire Protection District. Earlier this month, the Wabash Fire Protection District posted a sign outside their station. “Dear Santa, please bring us a shiny new red fire truck just as a joke and something fun for the season,” said Young.
“We always want new equipment, and I think a new tanker is next in line for whenever we do have the funds for a new truck,” said Kris Heller with the Wabash Fire Protection District. Then the unexpected happened. Santa wrote back. “Last week after a fire call, our chief came back to the station and found this bag hanging here on the door like this,” said Heller. Inside was a box of chocolates and a letter.
The letter said, “I want to thank you for your service to the people in the surrounding area. You go above and beyond and deserve a shiny new fire truck. Unfortunately, the budget doesn’t allow me to bring you one this year.” However, he didn’t leave their stockings empty. Inside St. Nick left a box of gifts with something similar to what they wanted. “Yes, 5 fire trucks,” said Young. “It just goes back to someone going out of their way to show their appreciation for us,” said Heller.
The fire department hosts an annual chili supper in the Spring. It is to help buy new equipment. It will be on March 14th at the station from 4 to 7 pm. It’s the only fundraiser they do. There will be a raffle, door prizes and an auction.