Children Seized With Happiness By Santa Cops Squadron

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Some bed-ridden kids at East Tennessee Children's Hospital got an early Christmas present Saturday afternoon when Santa Claus stopped by.

He was joined by more than 50 members of the 134th Security Forces Squadron, who helped him hand out presents as part of the Fifth Annual Santa Cop event.

It was indeed an early gift for both Brian Williams and his sister, Sarah.

"It's just hard to believe sometimes that people are so nice in this world still," said Sabrina Williams, Brian and Sarah’s mother.

Brian and Sarah are part of the more than 120 Children Hospital patients that Santa delivered smiles and presents to ton Saturday afternoon.

"Today was a wonderfully good day,” Sabrina said, “I don't think they've been this happy in awhile."

The Christmas cheer was delivered room-to-room by the Santa Cop program.

"Every year we raise money in the community and at the base, and we go out and buy gifts," said First Sgt. Rich Parker.

This year's $13,000 meant more bags of toys than ever were handed out by the Security Forces Squadron at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base.

"This is how we give back,” said TSgt Joe Hungate. “We serve our country, but we also serve our state and this is how we can open our hearts to our community."

For Santa Cop, TSgt. Hungate traded his boots and camo for a brighter green and some red.

"It really warms my heart,” he said, “this starts Christmas for me."

Cystic Fibrosis threatens the lives of the Williams siblings who are only 9 and 16.

It’s the reason they make a trip to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital nearly every three months.

"It's life for us," Sabrina said.

But on Saturday, life was good for the brother and sister.

"If I smile anymore, my cheeks are going to pop," said Sarah.

After Santa made the rounds to every room, there were still some gifts left over.

Those went the ER, making sure every child at Children’s got some Christmas cheer.

Sabrina William's says her two greatest gifts this holiday season won’t come in boxes.

They were already in the hospital before Santa arrived.

“We still have them to celebrate it with," she said. “It’s going to be a very Merry Christmas.”

Before Saturday, the hospital asked all the kids what would be their favorite Christmas present.

That list determined what Santa brought.

As for Brian and Sarah, they're due out of the hospital just in time for Christmas Eve.


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