HEMSI teams up with Santa for special school visit

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Santa made a special stop at the YMCA Downtown Early Childhood Education Center today but he didn't arrive in a sleigh.

At 10:30am Tuesday, a HEMSI ambulance pulled up to the building on Vernon Street in Huntsville and out jumped Santa, much to the delight of the children lined up in front of the school.

With the help of a few EMTs, he quickly began passing out presents to each child.

This is the eighth year Santa has visited the Downtown Early Childhood Education Center. The visits are an outreach of the HEMSI Cares program.

HEMSI Communications Director Stiles Clarke said, "we just put the word out to our employees that if they want to donate an unwrapped gift to a preschool child, then we will make sure it gets to a preschool child that is very deserving."

The employees brought the gifts to their annual Christmas party. The United Way took care of the sorting and wrapping.

Of course, the unwrapping was the children's favorite part.

Inside Martia Miller's Pre-K class, there were shouts of excitement and delight as each gift was opened.

In all, 58 children received a gift.

Clarke said it was a tradition HEMSI intends to continue, adding "it's the smile on their faces. It's the glisten in their eye when they find that surprise."