Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s “Operation Santa” brings smiles and holiday spirit to families of officers slain or seriously injured in the line of duty
Santa’s motorcade stops at Macy’s State Street store to pick up presents then winds through Chicago area this weekend, delivering gifts to families of the fallen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2018
Chicago – The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s 12th annual Operation Santa kicked off Saturday morning as a police motorcade escorted Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and a team of merry elves around Chicago this weekend delivering gifts, good wishes and the spirit of the holidays to 12 families of fallen or seriously injured Chicago Police officers.
Accompanying Santa and Ms. Claus on the annual two-day gift-giving tour was a group of Chicago Police Memorial Foundation supporters and members of the Chicago Police Department, including Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and First Deputy Anthony Riccio.
“The core of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s mission is making sure the families of our heroes are always remembered and never forgotten,” said Foundation Executive Director Phil Cline. “Operation Santa is our effort to show the children of the fallen and injured how much we care about them and to remind them that they are always a part of the Chicago Police family.”
Among the homes Santa’s entourage will visit this year are those of two Chicago Police officers killed in the line of duty this year. On Saturday, Operation Santa will stop by the home of Samuel Jimenez to provide support his widow, Crystal and their three children as they face their first Christmas without their father. Officer Jimenez was killed when responding to the tragic active shooter incident at Mercy Hospital in November. On Sunday, Operation Santa will pay a visit to the home of Erin and Grace Bauer. Commander Paul Bauer was killed in February while coming to the aid of his fellow officers who were trying to apprehend an individual who was fleeing the police on foot.
Operation Santa 2018 kicked off Saturday morning as the police-escorted motorcade arrived at the Macy’s store on State Street. While there, Santa and Macy’s employees loaded up vans with gifts. The motorcade then headed out on an ambitious itinerary that would include stops at four different homes on Saturday and five more stops on Sunday. Macy’s, one Operation Santa’s primary sponsor, contributed $10,000 to the effort and has been a partner of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation for seven straight years. This year’s lead sponsor is the Schwarber Neighborhood Heroes Foundation.
"Every day, Chicago police officers risk their lives to protect the city we all call home and some of them pay the ultimate sacrifice," said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "At this time of year, I can't think of a better way to show our gratitude than to make this a happy holiday for the families of officers we have lost or who have been seriously injured. This event is another example of the great work by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and I thank them for their dedication to our officers."
Also on Saturday and Sunday morning, the entourage visited with children of Chicago Police officers who are currently on military deployment. In all, 14 children of six Chicago Police officers participated in the festivities. The officers are deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Central America and other locations.
“These Chicago Police officers won’t be able to share the holidays with their families because they are placing themselves in harm’s way in service to our nation,” said Cline. “The least we can do is take a little time to make sure we can bring a little holiday joy into the homes of officers who, when they aren’t protecting our city, are off in dangerous places protecting our nation.”
Operation Santa would not be possible without the ongoing support from Chicago’s business and civic community and many individuals who have made contributions to help the Foundation purchase gifts for children of fallen and seriously injured Chicago Police officers.
Thank you to our sponsors:
Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes
The Michael Sweig Foundation
Mr. Kevin Shanahan
Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union
Nexus Employment Solutions
Marino Jeep Dodge Ram
Fannie May Candies
# # #