DEVOLA - Gray skies and a bit of precipitation didn't seem to quell the holiday spirit in Devola on Sunday as members of the Devola Volunteer Fire Company made the rounds during their annual Santa Parade and canned food drive.
Sirens wailing and lights flashing, fire and rescue trucks moved through Devola neighborhoods, inviting children to come out for a visit with Santa Claus who made a brief stop in the area Sunday afternoon.
Ana Staudt, 8, received a large candy cane from the jolly old elf in front of the new Par Mar convenience store on Ohio 60 in Devola.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Brothers Aaron, left, and Mason Hebert, of Marietta, spend some time with Santa Claus during the Devola Volunteer Fire Company’s annual Santa Parade and food drive Sunday afternoon.
Asked what she wants for Christmas, Ana said, "Just a doll, if I'm good. And I'll have to be nice to my sister."
Ana's mother, Paula Galupo, said her daughter couldn't wait for the fire truck bearing Santa Claus to reach their house, so they crossed the street to meet him at the store.
"This is a great service the fire department provides for the community every year," Galupo said.
Down the road, near Huck's Farm Market on Muskingum Drive, Aaron Hebert, 12, and brother Mason, 11, of Marietta, also made their gift requests known to the man in red.
"Hopefully I'll get what I asked for," Aaron said. "And I definitely want an iPod."
Mason had a similar request.
"I would like an iPod or a Nerf gun, either one," he said.
Firefighter Harold Newlen said the annual Santa Parade is a good way to get junior firefighters involved with the company's community outreach.
"Firefighters, emergency medical technicians and junior firefighters all participate in this effort," he said. "We want this to be a good learning experience for them to meet members of the community."
Hammond said parents throughout Devola's service district love the opportunity to snap their children's photo with Santa Claus.
"And every once in a while a child will bring a out letter to Santa and give it to us," she said.
Lt. Brad Groves said the annual food drive benefits local families in need through area food pantries.
"If we can help just one family, we feel we've done very well," he said. "This is a way we can help thank the community for all they do for us, too."
Groves said the fire company averages more than a pickup truck load of food that's donated to local pantries during the Santa Parade annually.
He said canned goods can also be dropped off at the firehouse on Masonic Park Road any day between 5:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. if residents missed the fire and rescue trucks Sunday.
Groves said Santa and his firefighter helpers also make a special stop to visit residents at the Heartland Nursing Home in Devola every year.