The Groveton, New Hampshire, Fire Department came to the rescue on Saturday, Dec. 15, bringing holiday joy to area youngsters and their families by hosting the annual Groveton Community Christmas Hayride. The event, underwritten by MOMS North Country Powersports, was held at the Groveton Emergency Services building and included a visit from Santa Claus, hay rides, free food and a wrapped gift for each of the 200 children in attendance.
Groveton Fire Chief Terrence Bedell said it was the largest turn out in the history of the event that he believes has been held for 40 years.
“It’s been our goal from day one to lighten up the kids’ lives for a day, let them have a present, see Santa Claus, and feel the warmth when they come in here,” he said.
“You could tell from the joyful look on some kids’ faces that it might be among the only gifts they receive this year, so it was really rewarding to help support this event,” said MOMS Operations Director Larry Meservey, Sr.
Families gathered at the emergency services building around dusk and saw Santa Claus ride through the streets of town while seated on the back of a 1967 Mack fire truck. As far as the children knew, “Big Mack” had been driven to the North Pole to pick up Santa Claus, who made a grand arrival in downtown Groveton. He then took a seat in the beautifully decorated emergency services building and heard from child after child what they wanted for Christmas.
The event was funded through donations collected throughout the community and a matching donation from MOMS North Country Powersports, which also provided “Big Mack,” the vintage fire truck. Every child at the event received a gift that had been purchased and wrapped by members of the fire department auxiliary. Joel Wheeler is the president of MOMS.