Santa in the Ambulance brings area children holiday cheer

  • Monday, January 14, 2013

Santa Claus, AKA Dorchester County EMS Lt. Kevin Varnadoe, receives a hug from a former patient. Santa in the Ambulance is an event members of Dorchester County EMS coordinate. They deliver Christmas presents to children who EMS has treated for serious medical conditions throughout the year. This year Santa and his elves brought gifts for some 18 children throughout Dorchester County.

For the second year in a row, Santa took to the streets in an ambulance, bringing holiday cheer to children all over Dorchester County.
It was all part of “Santa in the Ambulance,” an initiative organized by Dorchester County EMS. Now in its second year, the idea is to visit children in Dorchester County who had to be transported by Dorchester County EMS.
The project actually started several years ago but at some point fell by the wayside; it was revived last year by several EMS employees, noted event organizers.
“It’s a great way to give back, and the kids really enjoy it,” Lt. Lindsay Krakeel said.  “Watching these children light up as we surprised them and their siblings with gifts from Santa and his Elves was a rewarding experience for the Paramedics and EMT’s, many of whom were the actual crews that saved their lives.”
Despite the fact that Santa arrived in an ambulance and not in a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer, the bright smiles and shining eyes of those he visited were proof enough that not only was the surprise complete, but it really doesn’t matter to most kids how the big guy arrives, as long as he arrives.
In this case, a stretcher and every available inch of space in the ambulance was packed full of presents for the children, Krakeel said.
All in all, Santa and his crew, which consisted of Krakeel, Lt. Megan White, Lt. Kevin Varnadoe, Michelle Pierce, Justin VanDamme, Lindsay Penn, Andreya Hamilton, and Don Smith would visit 18 children who were specially selected by EMS because they had experienced a significant emergency condition -- some of which were life-threatening -- during 2012.
“We truly had a hand in saving their lives,” Krakeel said.
Santa and his road crew received helpful assistance from Capt. Amanda Reeves, Lt. Joshua Arrant, Lt. Matthew Cellars, Justin Miles, and April Toppi, all of whom helped with shopping, wrapping, decorating, and other vital behind-the-scenes tasks, Krakeel said.

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