Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department called to deliver holiday cheer with sirens and Santa

ROCKERVILLE, S.D. — Not all calls for first responders are emergencies. Sometimes, they have an opportunity to serve in less urgent, yet extremely meaningful ways.

Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department rolled out their trucks and responded to a call for some Christmas cheer. The call came in from Black Hills Children’s Home, nestled away in the snowy forest. It serves as a treatment center and special education school for children who are working to overcome obstacle in their lives.

Now, first responders hope to build positive relationships with them. “For us it’s a bonding opportunity,” says Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department Gail Schmidt. “Because if we do end up down there with a child, they kind of already know us and so that just makes those visits a little bit easier.”

Firefighters and a Pennington County Deputy Sheriff pulled Santa away from his preparations to bring gifts and goodies to the kids. “It’s as big of a deal for us as responders as it is for the kids. We love this opportunity to just bond with the kids, and share with the kids, and just be a part of their lives,” Schmidt adds.

Presents were delivered by Santa and included slippers, games, stuffed animals, and homemade treats. Each child also got a handwritten letter from a deputy, helping strengthen bonds between youth and law enforcement.

Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department brings presents to Black Hills Children's Home

“We really want to make sure that those relationships we have with youth and children in today’s society and today’s world and today’s culture are all on the same page with who is protecting them, and we’re there to ultimately help people and serve them to the best of our ability,” explains Deputy Sheriff Tanner Heiser with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.

After spending some time with Santa and sharing their holiday hopes, kids learned about the firetrucks and made artwork with the firefighters and deputies. “I’m super excited to be spreading the Christmas spirit today and this is the best place that I would want to be right now,” adds Heiser.

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