All too often, the sound of a firetruck does not mean good news. However, that was not the case for a few Anna neighborhoods last week. When the residents of the Anna Mobile Home Park ventured outside to find the source of the firetruck sirens, they were greeted with goodies and a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho.”

For three afternoons last week, the Anna Fire Department drove through a handful of neighborhoods. With Santa in tow and lights and sirens blaring, members of the Fire Department gave out candy canes to every person they saw.

Operation Santa is the creation of Tim Gothard, chief of theAnna Fire Department. When Gothard lived and worked in Kyle, Texas, the Fire Department did an Operation Santa there. Gothard moved to Anna in 2012, and decided to try the event within his new city. Gothard said he was pleased to have the event work just as well in his new hometown.

“Operation Santa is a good way to show the community that the Fire Department is there for them,” Gothard said. “We want them to feel comfortable calling on us. It is good for public relations.”

Catherine Halliburton, a citizen of Anna for 25 years, said she has enjoyed every year that the Fire Department has done Operation Santa. Halliburton said she enjoys being greeted with a candy cane from Santa.

“It makes me feel like a kid again,” Halliburton said. “Operation Santa brings togetherness and joy; it makes you smile.”

Even Jolly Old Saint Nicholas himself said he looks forward to this annual event. Even though he thinks the sirens and candy canes certainly play a factor, Santa enjoys seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces.

“I just want everybody to have a merry Christmas,” Santa said. “And stay safe.”