Santa Claus and first responders spread holiday cheer to local kids

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Many kids are patiently waiting for Santa Claus to stop by for Christmas, but some in Hampton Roads have already heard from him over the radio.

When Santa isn’t flying through the skies on his sleigh, he’s riding in a Virginia Beach EMS cruiser.

“I don’t have to be flying all over the place,” Santa said.

This is the fourteenth year Santa has gotten his badge with Virginia Beach EMS and joined forces with local first responders for “Santa On The Air.”

Santa said, “The children are hurt or scared and they’re looking for something, especially at Christmas time, to reassure them.”

The program is run through Virginia Beach EMS and connects Santa with local kids who might be going through a tough time.

Virginia Beach EMS Division Chief Bruce Nedelka said, “We put our heads together and we said Santa would you mind if we gave you a radio? Would you talk to the children on the radio? And voila, he said ‘absolutely.'”

First responders in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, State Police and Hampton Roads Navy Regional Fire and Rescue can call a special number on their radios and on the other end is Santa himself.

“I talk to them about how they’re feeling, if they’re doing alright and if they need anything. I also talk to them about the beauty of Christmas,” Santa said.

Organizers say they don’t want a happy time of year to be darkened, and this is a way they can bring a little bit of light to kids in the area.

“We all go to hundreds or thousands of hours of training to help somebody within a few moments, but the lasting impression is what’s really important,” Nedelka said.

This year’s Santa on Air is already underway and you can catch him on the radio until midday on Christmas.

“I’ve had some of the most incredible moments of my life hearing about these children,” said Santa.

You can find more information about Santa On The Air here.