CLEVELAND (WJW) – All of the little folks love Santa and all the flowers and toys and good vibes that he brings.
Tammy Heise brought over her little folks and the one big dude who has been spending time at the Ronald McDonald House supporting their older brother Zach.
He’s been undergoing treatment at Cleveland Clinic since before Halloween, and the holidays are now a little brighter
“At least they got something for Christmas. That was the thing I was worried about. We got something for Christmas,” Heise said.
And while all the kids love Santa, Santa loves them back.
Everybody calls this Santa’s helper JT, and he has a long history with Cleveland’s Ronald McDonald House.
You see JT’s son is now grown, but 40 years ago he was a very sick little boy and JT and his friends, who all just happen to be police officers, started to bring over gifts and then it became a party.
And 40 years later, the gifts, the party and even a little off-key singing bring a little cheer to the folks who are spending their holidays in the one place they hoped they wouldn’t be.
But for this Santa’s helper and his family, it’s been 40 years of sharing the love and the message that you are not alone in a difficult time.
“Let them know that we care about them, know that their kids belong to us, and we belong to them and that we love them and they in turn will love us and that’s what it was all about us reaching out as the Cleveland Police Department,” Retired Officer John “JT” Thomas said.
And with plenty of folks to play with and plenty of gifts on hand, the children at the house will get a chance to be kids for a while.
And so will many of the officers who are carrying on this 40-year tradition that comes straight from the heart.
Any toys that are left over will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House.
JT says he never could have started this all those years ago without the help from a lot of officers, especially his partner Richie who died a few years ago.