Fire departments taking Santa for a ride this weekend


December 9, 2021

It’s likely Santa has met a few firefighters in his day, considering how much time he spends going in and out of chimneys.

Maybe that’s why he agreed to travel Wahkiakum highways and byways with crews from all the local fire departments this weekend on their second annual Wahkiakum County Fire and EMS Santa Run, as they parade around the community in their fire engines with lights a’glowing, and sirens a’blaring, all to collect donations for the STAR program, the Wahkiakum Animal Advocates Group, and local food banks.

Steve Lewis, who started in fire service as a high school firefighter in Island County in 1989, and now serves as Fire Commissioner and Training Captain for the Skamokawa Fire Department, and the Training Lieutenant for the Cathlamet Fire Department, enjoyed Santa Runs while serving in other communities.

“Last year I realized Santa Claus was not going to go out for covid,” Lewis said. “I figured with all the people in the community who don’t get to have Santa Claus, it might be a good idea to get Santa out to them.”

He put the event together in no time, and ended up with a lot more volunteers and donations than he had hoped for.

This year, he decided to start a little sooner, and he also found some more help.

On Friday, the fire departments will begin the first stage of the Santa Run, leaving the Skamokawa Fire Department at 4 p.m., and heading to Johnson Park in Rosburg, where they will stay from 5 to 6 p.m. At 6 p.m., they will head to the Grays River Fire Station at 8 North Hull Creek Road, and will stay there until 7 p.m.

Santa is coming along to meet everyone and pose for pictures, and the volunteers will be collecting toys for the STAR program, donations like dog food, cat food, and kitty litter for the Wahkiakum Animal Advocates Group, and food donations for the food banks.

On Sunday, the fire departments and Santa will begin their second stage of the event at 1 p.m. by the church at Vista Park. They will spend about 15 minutes there, before heading to Cathlamet, parading up Boege Road to Cochran Drive, and to Delores and Orchard, before heading back down to the highway and crossing to Columbia Street. They will take a right on Elm Street and head to the parking lot in front of Wahkiakum High School at approximately 2:30 p.m. They plan to stop for 15 minutes before heading out to the highway, then down to Main Street and on to Puget Island. They will take a left on East Birnie Slough, following it around to East and West Sunny Sands, and back to South Welcome Slough, North Welcome Slough, Cross Dike Road, and West Birnie Slough Road, before ending at the Norse Hall at approximately 3:30 p.m. They plan to stop there for a half hour.

If there are more people at any location, they will stay a little longer, if not, we’ll cut it a little bit shorter, Lewis said.

They will be running lights and sirens, playing music and making announcements for most of the event, so people will know when Santa and the volunteers will be in their neighborhoods.

So come out and say hi to Santa, pose for a pic, and drop off donations if you have them.

Skamokawa Fire Association is hosting the event, Lewis said, and any checks should be made out to them. All monies will be split evenly between all the organizations.

“The whole point of this was just to get us out in the community to show the community who their volunteers are, and to get Santa Claus out to see the people who couldn’t get in to see him,” Lewis said.


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