Firefighters deliver Christmas gifts to sick kids

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Several North Side firehouses and an organization called Ignite the Spirit came together at the Illinois Masonic Medical Center to deliver Christmas presents to hospitalized children Tuesday. The group had raised $11,000 to buy gifts for children who might not make it home for Christmas.

"It makes my year that I can do this and be part of it," said Dam McDonah of Engine 112. "It's a great day."

The firefighters bought about 1,500 in total that will be distributed among four different hospitals in a culmination of a year-long drive to raise money for gifts for children in need of all ages.

This is the 12th time Ignite the Spirit has bought Christmas presents for hospitalized children. Over the years they have raised over $880,000. They said it's a big thrill, almost as big as a dramatic rescue.

"It's all encompassed in that same feeling as what we do every day as a fireman," says Rich Pinksey, founder of Ignite the Spirit. "You know, giving back to the kids, helping people get out of buildings when a building's on fire. It's all under that same heading. It's all good stuff. Yeah, we love it."

There will be enough presents left over to give to kids for the entire year. Good medicine for tough times, from tough guy firefighters with big soft hearts.
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