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Junior Firefighters Help Santa As Christmas Arrives Early For Hospitalized Children On Long Island

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Christmas came early for sick children at a hospital on Long Island.

It's never easy being a kid in the hospital, but it's even harder when you're going to be there over the holidays. So on Sunday, Santa Claus and a group of junior firefighters out of Nassau County helped make some children's Christmas a little brighter, starting with Dina Sahal's little sister, who is just 9 months old.

"I was feeling happy for her," 8-year-old Dina said when asked by CBS2's Marc Liverman what it was like to her her little sister get a present from the jolly guy in red. "Because she's my only sister that I have."

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Nassau Junior Firefighters and Santa
Santa Claus teamed up with junior firefighters on Dec. 22 to make the day of some ill children in a Nassau County hospital. (Photo: CBS2)

Junior volunteers from 15 departments across the county were with Santa to hand out toys at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside. In all, more than 70 juniors took part in the event and they're all between 12 and 18 years old.

"It's really heartwarming, I mean for the kids. Especially when I was a kid, the whole thing was about toys. But now when I get older it's about being with your family and you know a lot of these kids can't really be with their family," junior firefighter Mary Grace Syrett said.

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For the 17-year-old Syrett, the event was all about spreading joy and love.

"The joy of having the toy, but also the joy of knowing that people are still there for them, even people that aren't their family is really nice," Syrett said.

As the volunteers proved, it only took a few minutes of time to help create memories that the kids will keep with them long after Santa is back at the North Pole.

A spokesperson for the Nassau Junior Firefighters Association said all the volunteers go through most of the same training as other firefighters. Many of them, including Syrett, plan on becoming firefighters once they turn 18.

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