Operation Warm comes to Marshall Elementary

Santa Claus, Buddy the Elf, and Vancouver firefighters helped find coats for children in need at Marshall Elementary School on Tuesday. This is part of Operation Warm mission, to provide coaches for children during the winter months. Photo by Paul Valencia
Santa Claus, Buddy the Elf, and Vancouver firefighters helped find coats for children in need at Marshall Elementary School on Tuesday. This is part of Operation Warm mission, to provide coaches for children during the winter months. Photo by Paul Valencia

Drive to deliver coats to children, led by local firefighter’s union, in full swing

Even Santa Claus can get a little emotional when helping out children. 

Sure, on Christmas Eve, Santa will be bringing gifts to children all over the world. But on Tuesday, Santa helped deliver the gift of warmth, along with the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 452.

Members of the Vancouver Fire Department, Santa Claus, Buddy the Elf, and more showed up at Marshall Elementary School with hot cocoa for children, coffee for adults, and a whole lot of coats to hand out to those in need.

Operation Warm is still taking donations, too. 

“It brings joy. The only thing you can’t buy in this world is the kind of happiness when you see a child know there is some hope and there’s people who care,” Santa said. “Warm coats are a big part of that. It’s cold. For the life of me, I can’t understand why there is a cold child, not only in this world, but in our county. The first time I did this, it brought tears to my eyes. When you see a kid light up with a smile, you know you’re doing the right thing.”

Students from the school were also given a tour of a fire engine.

“The fire truck is always a win with little kids, which is one of the best parts of the whole job,” said firefighter Matt Hankins, who has been with the Vancouver Fire Department for six years. “This is probably one of the most rewarding things that we do, to give back to the community and see the smiles on the kids’ faces.”

Children from Marshall Elementary School in Vancouver got to pick a new coat and got a tour of a fire engine, courtesy of Vancouver Fire Department and IAFF Local 452. Photo by Paul Valencia
Children from Marshall Elementary School in Vancouver got to pick a new coat and got a tour of a fire engine, courtesy of Vancouver Fire Department and IAFF Local 452. Photo by Paul Valencia

Mandie Greene, in her first year as principal at Marshall Elementary, appreciated the event. 

“It’s amazing, bringing community together, reaching out and getting needs met for our families,” she said. “It’s a great way to end your day.”

Kady Bieber, a member of Local 452, said it is a special time of the year for the union, the department, and area businesses to join forces to provide coats to children who have no other means of getting them.

The following businesses are drop-off locations for the coat drive with Local 452:
Farmers Insurance at 1811 Main Street, Vancouver
NW Nut, which includes a free picture with Santa with a coat donation. NW Nut is at 2218 NE 179th Street in Ridgefield.

Edward Jones at 12500 SE 2nd Circle in Vancouver.

Participating businesses also include:

Taylor Transport, Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad, Pacific Coast Carbon, Evergreen Home Loans, and Relevant Coffee. 

New and slightly used coats can be dropped off at participating locations. Or cash donations are accepted at: http://www.iaff452.org/

Money will be used to buy new coats and the firefighters will deliver them to children in need.


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