Santa Run makes way through Teays Valley
HURRICANE — Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he lives and works in Teays Valley. If you don’t believe it, wait until about 6 p.m. and if you hear a siren, look out the window. Okay, he won’t be arriving in a huge red sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, but the transportation is huge and very red.
Teays Valley Volunteer Firefighters were out Sunday evening, Dec. 16, driving through some neighborhoods, but this time it wasn’t because of fire. They were on their annual Santa Run, which is held each year during the middle of December for about eight days. From 6-8 p.m. on weeknights and 6-9 p.m. on the weekends, three or four firefighters, one driving a smaller lead truck and the larger truck carrying Santa, drive slowly through the streets of their Teays Valley fire district waving at the residents and handing out candy canes to the neighborhood kids and not-so-young kids.
According to volunteer firefighter Cody Smoot, the men have done this for the five years he has been on the volunteer fire department and probably a few before that.
“It’s for the kids,” he said, although there were some adults waiting on the porch on Sunday night waving at the men also.
Smoot said the men take turns playing Santa. Last year he was the jolly old elf. This year, Jeremy Gresham has the fun job of waving at the people who congregate on their porches and driveways. However, if he doesn’t drive through your neighborhood, it isn’t because you have been naughty rather than nice; it might be that your street is too narrow to handle the huge truck.
“We have to do neighborhoods our trucks will maneuver around easily. We try to do neighborhoods we think we can go through without any trouble,” he said.
The children love it.
“We always have a good reaction from the kids. They have smiles on their faces when they see Santa Claus,” he said.
However, the kids aren’t the only ones who are having fun.
“It’s a good feeling to see the enjoyment the kids get out of it,” he said. “We always have a good time with it — everybody enjoys doing it,” he said.
The men try to visit three to five neighborhoods a night, and the time passes quickly.
“We try to cover as many neighborhoods in our fire district as we can. We enjoy it. We go out and have a good time too,” he added.