With an uptick in COVID-19 cases in town and too few reindeer masks for an extra trip to Orange, Santa has asked members of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary to cancel the annual Santa’s Helper fundraising event. “This is usually the time of year when we start planning the event that brings Santa and firefighters to homes all over town to deliver gifts,” said Jillian Gagel, president of the Auxiliary. The Auxiliary supports the Orange Volunteer Fire Department through fundraising and other means. “Unfortunately, with the rise in coronavirus cases, it’s dangerous for our members to do the work they have to do to make the event happen and it’s equally dangerous to residents to have people they don’t know enter their homes.”
Orange Fire Chief Vaughan Dumas called the cancelation an added disappointment to the community and for the Fire Department. “This is the second annual tradition that we have had to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dumas. “We are very thankful that the Orange community has been wonderfully supportive with the $50K Fire Truck Challenge and other contributions, but the health and safety of our members, the Auxiliary, the First Responders, and the community must come first.”
Chief Dumas and Ms. Gagel expressed optimism that they would be escorting Santa to homes for the 2021 holidays.
The Orange Volunteer Fire Association provides fire protection to residents and businesses in Orange and, through mutual aid, surrounding towns. Members receive training in fire suppression, rescue, hazardous materials response, homeland security issues and other emergency services.
Operating strictly with revenues from fundraisers and donations, the Orange Volunteer Fire Department is one of the remaining few all-volunteer incorporated fire departments in Connecticut. Active members are on-call to serve the community on a 24-hour/seven-day basis, responding from stations on Orange Center Road and Boston Post Road.
In addition, the fire company offers public education services including lectures, demonstrations and training. For information about membership, donations or public education, call (203) 891-4703, click on https://www.orangevfd.org/ or find us on Facebook.