Santa Surprised By Sioux Falls Firefighters With Gifts, Cheer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Santa has been a staple at the Empire Mall for the last 21 years, but this year is a little different.

While he’s spreading cheer and listening to what little one’s want under their tree this Christmas, he’s also dealing with the loss of his Murdo home that burned down earlier this month.

To help ease that burden, firefighters have stepped up to help out.

With gifts in hand, members of Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, including a jolly man in a red suit, embarked on a special mission.

The recipient of these gifts is a man who usually does the gift-giving himself.

But due to recent a recent house fire and the loss of everything inside, the man who usually spreads the holiday cheer needed a little cheering up himself.

The gifts were purchased by firefighters with the help of Step Up For Heroes and the Sioux Falls Firefighters Benevolent Foundation, and delivered right to the door of Santa’s temporary home.

“Grateful” is the only word Santa could come up with, and the firefighters who got to boost Santa’s spirits were just as grateful to be able to help out.

“One of the biggest things is the fact that he lost his home in a fire. Firefighters, it kind of had a connection with us, and then just Santa Claus, we really support the season and the holidays and making sure we’re helping people,” said Sioux Falls firefighter Russell Wentz.

While he’s not usually on the receiving end when it comes to gift-giving, Santa says it does happen from time to time.

“I received a lot of gifts from kids over the years, whether it be a crumbled up cookie, or maybe their favorite little item, kids give me all the way from their favorite marble to their binkie,” he said.

It is often these kinds of gifts – that come from a very special place – that mean the most to him.

“The smallest items sometimes is worth just as much, depends on where it comes from. If it comes from the heart, it don’t matter what it is.”

Firefighters with the Murdo Volunteer Fire Department have also set up a GoFundMe to help Santa, find the link here:

For more information on Step Up for Heroes, click here:

For more information on the Sioux Falls Firefighters Benevolent Foundation, click here:

All the gifts were wrapped by staff at Unglued Sioux Falls: