Gray skies and a bit of precipitation didn't seem to quell the holiday spirit in Devola Sunday as members of the Devola Volunteer Fire Company made the rounds during their annual Santa Parade and canned food drive.
Sirens wailing and lights flashing, fire and rescue trucks moved through Devola neighborhoods, inviting children to come out for a visit with Santa Claus who made a brief stop in the area Sunday afternoon.
Ana Staudt, 8, received a large candy cane from the jolly old elf in front of the new Par Mar convenience store on Ohio 60 in Devola.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Eight-year-old Ana Staudt receives a candy cane and has a brief conversation with Santa Claus during Sunday’s Santa Parade and food drive in Devola
Asked what she wants for Christmas, Ana said, "Just a doll, if I'm good. And I'll have to be nice to my sister."
Ana's mother, Paula Galupo, said her daughter couldn't wait for the fire truck bearing Santa Claus to reach their house, so they crossed the street to meet him at the store.
"This is a great service the fire department provides for the community every year," Galupo said.
Santa Parade in Devola:
- The Devola Volunteer Fire Company held its annual Santa Parade and canned food drive Sunday.
- The fire and rescue truck procession passed through Devola neighborhoods where children visited with Santa Claus and residents could donate canned goods for local food pantries.
- Those canned goods can also be dropped off between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the firehouse, 1286 Masonic Park Road.
Down the road, near Huck's Farm Market on Muskingum Drive, Aaron Hebert, 12, and brother Mason, 11, of Marietta also made their gift requests known to the man in red.
"Hopefully I'll get what I asked for," Aaron said. "And I definitely want an IPod."
Mason had a similar request.
"I would like an IPod or a Nerf gun, either one," he said.
Five-year-old Kelby Schramm was waiting for Santa with dad, John Schramm, in front of her Aunt Susan Satterfield's home on Chamberlain Drive.
"I asked for a Barbie doll," Kelby said after receiving her candy cane from Santa.
Satterfield said the Santa Parade is an event the community-especially the children-look forward to every year.
"We've lived here for 14 years now, and my son, Wesley Satterfield, has joined the fire company as a junior firefighter," she said. "It's good to see him participating and helping give back to the community."
Firefighter Harold Newlen said the annual Santa Parade is a good way to get junior firefighters involved with the company's community outreach.
"Firefighters, emergency medical technicians and junior firefighters all participate in this effort," he said. "We want this to be a good learning experience for them to meet members of the community."
Fire Lt. Gwynette Hammond agreed.
"We want them to get involved with community service early on," she said.
Hammond said parents throughout Devola's service district love the opportunity to snap their children's photo with Santa Claus.
"And every once in a while a child will bring a out letter to Santa and give it to us," she said.
Lt. Brad Groves said the annual food drive benefits local families in need through area food pantries.
"If we can help just one family, we feel we've done very well," he said. "This is a way we can help thank the community for all they do for us, too."
Groves said the fire company averages more than a pickup truck load of food that's donated to local pantries during the Santa Parade annually.
He said canned goods can also be dropped off at the firehouse on Masonic Park Road any day between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. if residents missed the fire and rescue trucks Sunday.
Groves said Santa and his firefighter helpers also make a special stop to visit residents at the Heartland Nursing Home in Devola every year.
Hammond added that another event, a pasta dinner hosted by the fire company Saturday, raised $1,200 for first responders who were victims of Hurricane Sandy in the New York area.