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This past December 18 seemed like a regular old day in Oakland Park. However, for 50 kids December 18th was anything but ordinary. That day, with the help of Oakland Park Firefighters, the Santa Express roared to life and went around delivering smile after smile to kid after kid.
While the parents got the kids ready for their special visit, the Fire House was abuzz with excitement. Fire Captain Christopher Lunt was in charge of the Santa Express for the first time this year. Lunt meticulously planned the event. He divided the routes into East and West Oakland Park to ensure everyone on the list got their special visit. When the Firefighters met to discuss the day’s activities, Lunt shares that “the energy was very excited and fun. Everyone involved enjoys giving back to the community when we can and helping the children is one of the best ways we can think to do that“.
The surprise and delight of the children seeing the fire truck pull up, with Santa no less, was absolutely priceless. Smiles were everywhere, kids and adults alike loved having Santa pop in. The Firefighters likewise enjoyed the experience. One Firefighter shared with LivingInOaklandPark.com that being a part of the Santa Express really made he and his wife feel the Christmas spirit this year.
Deborah Neff, a resident of Whispering Lakes, shared the following: “It was magical for me, and my grandkids, and my great grandson and I also think it was magical for the Fire Department…We are so apreciative to the City of Oakland Park Fire Department“.
Pam Brees, Deborah’s neighbor, was there for the arrival of the Fire Department and she said that she felt the kids “It was wonderful to see the kids actually have something to enjoy and to watching how excited they were“. Pam also shared that she is Jewish and Santa Claus was never a part of her family’s holiday traditions. When Santa arrived she felt the joy and the little kid in her came alive.
The Santa Express delivered smiles to all the families that participated, but that was only part of its mission. The Santa Express fundraiser raised a total of $1500 from the deliveries and from donations made by Mayor Aisha Gordon, Commissioner Steve Arnst, 2022 Commission candidate Leticia Newbold. Lowe’s and Home Depot also donated 2 pre-lit Christmas trees.
The Santa Express trucked on and delivered smiles to several families in need in Oakland Park, making this Christmas unforgettable.
The Santa Express was such a great success in 2022, we asked Captain Lunt what we could expect next year. “The Santa Express to come back again and be even better and bigger than it was this year. The members of the Oakland Park Fire Department Benevolent and myself are committed to growing this event to be able to help as many families and children in need as we possibly can. On top of that, they have events to look forward to that the Oakland Park Fire Department Benevolent will be putting on or involved in such as our yearly Easter Egg Hunt at Royal Park“.
So watch out Oakland Parkers, more to come from the Fire Department. Sign up for our newsletter and text message updates to find out so you know what is happening in Oakland Park.
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Désirée Ávila EDITOR, PUBLISHER, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, REALTOR® Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 35 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida REALTOR® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism. Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the GRI, PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR®, SRES and SFR®. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to REALTORS® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry. She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a REALTOR® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others. She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
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