Rural/Metro firefighters playing Santa Claus this season

Curtis Riggs | December 17, 2008

Collecting boxes and boxes of toys
CAREFREE/CAVE CREEK – Rural/Metro firefighters in both Desert Foothills communities are doing all they can to ensure needy area children have at least a few Christmas presents under the tree this year.

Firefighters at both local firehouses (Carefree – 821, Cave Creek – 825) have been collecting toys for local kids, with overflow toys in the next two weeks going to the Marines Toys For Tots program. There is a toy collection box outside the Carefree firehouse at Lucky Lane and Tom Darlington. Toys can also be left at the Cave Creek Rural/Metro Fire Station at Cave Creek Road and Blueridge.

Rural/Metro District Chief John Kraetz estimates over 500 toys have been collected so far and anticipates many more will be collected before Christmas.

“It’s something we really enjoy doing,” he said. “It’s fun playing Santa.”

firefighters with toysThe firefighters are working from a list provided by the Foothills Food Bank. They will deliver four presents each for 50 children in 19 families on the food bank list. The rest of the toys go to the Marines and Toys For Tots.

“We filled up a van for the Marines on Saturday,” Kraetz said.

Rural/Metro Capt. Doug Gibson, of the Cave Creek station, is heading up toy collections for both local firehouses.

Carefree Rural/Metro Capt. Ryan Travis said whenever the collection box in Carefree is emptied there are always more toys when it is next checked.

Kraetz said people in the Desert Foothills are the “most generous people in the Valley. We outdo every other station in the Valley.”

The toys will be collected through Dec. 22. For information about the program call the Carefree Rural/Metro station at 480-488-0347 or the firehouse in Cave Creek at 480-595-2758.

Photo: Rural/Metro Fire Capt. Doug Gibson, left, Capt Ryan Travis, right, foreground, and firefighter Buddy Booth go through toys which were dropped off at local firehouses for delivery to area children.
Photo by Curtis Riggs