Saugus firefighters save 42-year Santa tradition
SAUGUS, Mass. (WHDH) -- Volunteer firefighters rescued an annual tradition after budget cuts and a lack of manpower threatened to keep Santa at home this year.
Every year, Santa and the Saugus Fire Department take a trip to the town's elementary schools.
“Santa's making a comeback again to the Saugus Public Schools for sure,” said Bill Cross, a Saugus fireman.
It's a 42-year tradition in Saugus; firemen dress up as Santa on their own time and visit the town's five elementary schools in the days leading up to Christmas break.
“It puts the kids in the spirit. It’s good for the firefighters and it’s good for the community,” said Paul Preston, a parent.
But there have been some wrinkles in the plan. Last year the superintendant outraged many parents when he tried to cancel the Christmas visits. He quickly reversed his decision.
Then this year, not enough firemen volunteered initially -- until word got out the tradition would be cancelled.
“I think they thought that it was just going to happen on its own and I got to say my guys stepped up and they’re making the effort and on their time off they’re going to come and make sure it gets done,” Cross said.
Cross, president of the firefighters union in Saugus, on Monday met with the superintendant of schools, then announced the tradition would continue -- thanks to his men.
“I actually have so many guys now I’m going to have to turn guys away,” said Cross.
Santa will make his way through classrooms at the five schools on Dec. 17, Dec. 19, and Dec. 20.