Tucson Firefighters make a Santa-sized toy delivery to TMC for Children

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They’re not dressed in your typical Santa suits, but Tucson firefighters played St. Nick today, dropping off a new toy chest for TMC for Children chock-full of toys for pint-sized patients.

The chest – which looks like a mini fire truck – provides toys to children who are undergoing medical procedures or who just need a little boost during their stay.

“It is our pleasure to be able to partner with TMC for Children,” said Joe Gulotta, Tucson Fire Department assistant chief. “Day in and day out, there are clinical folks who work hard to get these children better. Our hope is that this is another resource for them – that these toys bring a smile to a child who is having a tough time. Even if it’s for one minute out of their day, we want to take their mind off the problems they’re experiencing. We want to give them something else to focus their attention on other than the reason they’re in the hospital.”

Helping out children in need is in line with what these first responders do every day. Gulotta adds that TFD has teddy bears stocked on their fire trucks in the event they encounter a child on scene who needs to be comforted. “We meet children who have been in bad accidents or experienced a fire at their home. Or maybe their parent is sick and they’re scared about what’s happening. It’s amazing how a simple teddy bear can re-direct their attention and give them something else to think about.”

Gulotta says TFD has been fortunate to have such great sponsors who support the project wholeheartedly including the Tucson Firefighters Association, Old Pueblo Rotary Club as well as two local businesses, Mr. Janitor and Signs Now Tucson.

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Thousands of twinkle lights make the TMC campus sparkle for the holidays

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It’s not quite the Winterhaven Festival of Lights, but the TMC campus is impressively festive during this holiday season! Tens of thousands of twinkle lights and other decorations, including more than 50 elf and snowmen cutouts, have been used to illuminate and adorn the 114 acres the hospital sits on.

“It’s an enormous undertaking,” said Richard Parker, director of TMC Facilities and Plant Services. “We have an enthusiastic team made up of employees from many different facilities crews who commit themselves every year to brightening the holidays for patients, visitors and staff. In order to get it all done, oftentimes they logged hours when most of us were still asleep, and even came in on their weekends in order to decorate in a discreet way that didn’t impact the campus during regular business hours.”

“The joy these decorations bring to everyone who visits or works at TMC is the kind of thing you just can’t put a price tag on,” said TMC carpenter Dan Bittner. “It’s worth every minute and every dime we spent putting it all together. The enthusiasm and the positive reactions from people on campus make it well worth the effort. It’s a pleasure to see how people enjoy our work.”

Last year, TMC for Children patients and their siblings were alerted via closed-circuit television that Santa had landed on TMC’s roof as part of his test flight a few days before Christmas. The children headed to a nearby courtyard where they could visit with Santa, eat cookies, listen to stories and enjoy enchanted snowfall. We’ll have to see if the jolly old elf pays TMC for Children a visit again this year…

Local firefighters spread Christmas kindness at TMC for Children

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Rural/Metro firefighters
Station 73

They weren’t dressed in your traditional Santa suits, but a group of Rural/Metro firefighters played St. Nick at TMC for Children. 

The guys from Station 73 paid a visit to our pediatric patients to hand out some adorable teddy bear stuffed stockings that were handmade by the residents at Strauss Manor.  They also gave each child a copy of the book Born to Wear Blue, written by local author Patty Vallance about children who dream about becoming firefighters when they grow up. 

Special thanks to Patty Vallance, the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, Strauss Manor and Rural/Metro Fire for bringing a little Christmas cheer to these children!   

Rural/Metro Firefighter/Paramedic Captain Rob Moon hands a stocking to 5-year-old Adacelie

Rural/Metro Firefighter/Paramedic Captain Rob Moon hands a stocking to 5-year-old Adacelie

Rural/Metro Firefighter/Paramedic Captain Grant Cesarek chats with Jayden just as the 6-year-old is happily on his way home

Rural/Metro Firefighter/Paramedic Captain Grant Cesarek chats with Jayden just as the 6-year-old is happily on his way home


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461