By Kevin O’Rourke
There was extra excitement around Germantown on Wednesday morning at Santa Claus was in town for a few hours with his friends from the Montgomery County Police Department. He traded his sleigh and reindeer for a Harley and full police escort to tour the county and spread good cheer as part of the MCPD’s Santa Ride.
Santa, along with Mrs. Claus, and the motor officers will bring gift bags and donations raised by the Montgomery County Police Department to a party for the children whose families are residents at the Children’s Inn at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda.
The ride, which has become a yearly tradition, set out this morning in Germantown as Santa his team of motor-elves left District 5 Headquarters on route to their first stop. They rode down Century Boulevard to the Upcounty Regional Services Center on Middlebrook Road where Santa met with a group of little ones.
"The Santa Ride is one of those details that the Montgomery County Motor Officers look forward to every year," said Lieutenant David McBain, who organizes the event each year. "Probably the most anticipated ride of the year. It is an opportunity to partner with some incredible people at the NIH Children's Inn for some amazing children. It's a time when we can set aside our ticket books and ride throughout the county raising awareness of the great things that go on at the Inn. The night is capped off with officers enjoying an evening with the kids and their families. This ride is about the kids at the Inn. But you can't help but notice the smiles on drivers faces as they wave at Santa and the friendly hugs we get on our many stops. This was once again a great day."
After the stop at the Upcounty Regional Services Center, Santa and his escort team mounted up and headed their next stop. They rode up Father Hurley Boulevard to the Wegmans where Santa met with some more little ones and picked up a donation check to The Children’s Inn from Paul Chod, the owner of Minkoff Development, the company which built for the Wegmans shopping center.
Among the many toddlers Santa met at Wegmans was two-year-old Brody Hersom, who according to his mom, Becky Hersom was very excited to see the Big Man.
“He was so excited when he heard the sirens and saw the flashing lights,” said Mom Becky, “Once Santa appeared he was just yelling ‘It's Santa!’” However, Mom reports that Brody first had to check out the motorcycles. “But, when it was his turn to see Santa he went up to him without any hesitation. He had a great time seeing Santa and all the motorcycles.”
From Wegmans, Santa and the team continued their tour of the county including a stop in Laytonsville, and a visit to the Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg and other spots throughout the county including Rockville, Silver Spring, Olney, and Veterans Park in Bethesda.
Santa’s ride ended the at The Children’s Inn at NIH in Bethesda. Representatives from The Children’s Inn at NIH were riding with the Santa Ride, collecting donations from all six police districts, area businesses, and residents, the donations will go towards purchase gift cards from area stores to assist families who are residing at The Children’s Inn at NIH.
The funds also provide gifts for the children staying at The Children’s Inn at NIH while receiving treatment at NIH. The Children's Inn is a private, nonprofit, family-centered residence for pediatric outpatients at the National Institutes of Health. Its purpose is to keep children together with their families during serious illness, reduce their stress and facilitate the healing process through mutual support. In fiscal year 2014, more than 1,500 families came from 50 states and 84 countries to stay at The Inn. Families do not pay to stay at the Inn; we rely solely on private contributions to sustain our operations.
If you wish to join the fun and provide a financial donation online, visit The Children’s Inn website at childrensinn.org, click on “Ways To Give” then “Donate Now”, enter your information and indicate that you are giving in response to the “Santa Police Ride.”
Top: Santa rides his Harley-Davidson police motorcycle up Father Hurley Boulevard as part of the annual MCP Santa Ride to benefit The Children’s Inn at NIH.
Next: Santa is escorted by his motor-elves as they ride up Father Hurley Boulevard.
Next: Santa and Mrs. Claus with two-year-old Brody Hersom outside the Wegmans store in Germantown.
Next: Video of Santa and his escort leaving District 5 Montgomery County Police Headquarters Wednesday morning as they began the Santa Ride.
Next: Santa and Mrs. Claus prepare for the ride at District 5 Headquarters.
Next: The Santa Ride rides parked at Wegmans.
Photos and video by Germantown Pulse