Santa Drops In Early with Presents and Good Cheer for Sick Children, Courtesy of Local Police

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Photography by HUNTINGTON HOSPITAL and JAMES MACPHERSON

6:42 am | December 13, 2018


[Updated] Santa made a special visit with presents and cheer for sick children at the Huntington Hospital Wednesday, courtesy of the Pasadena Police Department’s Air Operations Section and partner agencies.

The two-part Christmas Toy Drive known as “Operation Polar Wind” featured helicopter deliveries to the Hospital’s Pediatrics Unit and also to the Pasadena Police Department’s Benedict Heliport in Altadena.

After Santa touched down in his rotor-equipped “sleigh” atop the Huntington Hospital bearing a bag bearing gifts and hearty Ho ho ho’s he was escorted by Interim Police Chief John Perez, Mrs. Claus and their flight suit-clad “elves.”

A gathering of child patients and their families, doctors and nurses, and Hospital staff flocked to greet Santa, who sporting a classic red sack filled with toys of all kinds for the excited children.

The kids love seeing Santa Claus arrive, said Interim Chief Perez.

“The kids feel involved, their spirits go up and it’s just great to have him walking through, passing out toys to everybody. It’s a great opportunity for families and the kids and the staff to have a little break from the regular schedule and just enjoy what’s happening right now for the holidays,” Perez said. “The officers look for this event so much.”

Operation Polar Wind is funded through the generous contributions from City of Pasadena employees and police officer associations participating in the Foothill Air Support Team program throughout the San Gabriel Valley, according to a press release.

“We rely heavily on these donations and we appreciate it so much,” said Dorey Huston, who is Manager of Public Relations & Media for Huntington Hospital. “Every time a pediatric patient comes to the hospital now throughout the year, they benefit from the toy donations made this day.”

Lt. Mike Ingram of Pasadena’s Air Operations Section explained the donations are collected by a number of local agencies representing law enforcement in Alhambra, Arcadia, Covina, Glendora, Irwindale, Monrovia, San Marino, Serra Madre, and South Pasadena, in addition to Pasadena.

“This is really a regional effort for all the cities,” Ingram said.

Santa’s second stop was at the Pasadena Police Department heliport in Altadena later in the afternoon.

This event was held in conjunction with Peace Over Violence, a local organization committed to serving domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in our community.

“We are so appreciative of their generosity and commitment to serving survivors,” said Peace Over Violence Program Director Sandy Monroy about the event.

Operation Polar Wind is in its thirteenth year.

“This is a grassroots effort by police department personnel to give back to the community,” Ingram said. “It was developed through the Air Ops, but it’s a department-wide effort. It’s just a lot of really good people trying to do a good thing for the community during the holidays — it’s not always happy for some during the holidays. It’s a great day for us to see the kids smile.”