But for the past five years, firefighters with the Johnson City Fire Department have been helping lift the spirits of the patients and families at Niswonger by providing them with stuffed Dalmatians and gifts donated from across the community as part of their monthly visits to the children’s hospital.
The firefighters made their regular visit Monday, but compared to the other visits, Lt. Adam Momberger said the fire department’s annual Christmas visit is often more of a surprise for the pediatric patients, who receive extra gifts from them every season.
“We try to come by at least every month and visit the kids, and on Christmas, we try to make it a more special visit by spending some time with them and handing out some toys gathered by the community,” he said. “Typically during Christmas, we have donations that we disperse for the kids.”
Momberger said many of the Christmas toys are provided through the goodwill of local residents who donate presents to the stations every year.
“It’s a community-based thing with all the people who come by and bring the presents for the children,” he said. “And we just feel blessed that we’re granted a platform to be able to interact with the kids and the fact that we can give something to them hopefully — because they give so much to us.”