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Santa arrives early for some in Fortuna

FORTUNA- Santa got an early start giving gifts out today in Humboldt County. Thanks to the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department, more than 100 families and nearly 200 children were visited with by Santa, Mrs. clause and their elves today.

Volunteer firefighters in Fortuna put their lives on the line for their community. However, they don’t stop at fighting fires.  On Tuesday, they traveled throughout Fortuna to brighten up Christmas for dozens of needy families.

"For us, as firefighters, as volunteers for our community, we want to see the best for our community. We want to pass that on to our kids and try to help wherever is needed," said Chief Lon Winburn, the Fire Chief of the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department.

Firefighters, their families and other members of the community went door to door with food, toys and clothing for those who need them as part of the Santa Sleigh program.  The program was created in 1987 by Dave Ansley, the former Captain of Company 2.

"Honestly, I think it's great. With certain financial difficulties at certain times of the year this really does help. It really does help families so I think it's an awesome thing," said Deshawn Moore who is a father of two.

Organizers say it’s not just the families receiving the gifts and food who benefit because of the program.

“When we deliver our children get a chance to see the whole concept of giving back to the community," Chief Winburn said.

Meanwhile, the children opening the door get an unforgettable Christmas surprise.

Last week the department had Santa visit disabled children and seniors in Fortuna as well.