DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Law enforcement and first responders brought holiday cheer to the Miami Valley with a caravan through Montgomery County, ending at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Around 100 first responder vehicles from agencies across the Miami Valley participated in this year’s Operation Santa Sleigh.
“It’s very nice to see the turnout that we have coming from several counties around here, not just Montgomery County,” Miami Township Police Department Detective Dan Wessling said.
Operation Santa Sleigh 2021 is an event by Ohio Blue, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and International Association of Fire Fighters.
The event took place in seven cities across Ohio, passing through the communities and making a stop at childrens hospitals.
“Just letting them know that we’re thinking about them, and this is our way of bringing Santa to them,” Wessling said.
The route started at the Dayton Airport Expo Center and traveled through Vandalia and Huber Heights. Community members lined the sidewalks to greet the law enforcement along the route.
“I wanted to cry for all those law enforcement, it was wonderful, it was an experience I’ll never forget,” Joni Allen from Huber Heights said. “It was unbelievable.”
The parade ended on Route 4 outside of Dayton Children’s. First responders turned on their lights and sirens to signal to the kids that they’re not alone this Christmas.
“I hope it just gives them a good feeling before the holidays,” Wessling said. “Being in the hospital is very stressful to them, and they often think they are forgot about, and so we would hope they’d take away that they’re not forgotten about.”
This is the second year Operation Santa Sleigh took place in Montgomery County.