'We never forget': Santa Claus delivers gifts to families of fallen Chicago police officers

Santa loaded up the presents at Macy's on State Street.

ByMaher Kawash WLS logo
Saturday, December 10, 2022
'We never forget': Santa Claus delivers gifts to families of fallen Chicago police officers
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Santa Claus loaded up gifts at Macys on State Street in the Loop for families of injured and fallen Chicago Police Department officers.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Operation Santa got underway this weekend across Chicago.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus got some help from their elves and Chicago police to bring some gifts and joy to families of fallen and seriously injured officers.

"It's for the families... It's for the kids... It's the right thing to do," Santa said.

Santa made a pit stop at Macy's on State Street on Saturday morning, picking up dozens of presents for those families.

"Some of the families think you forget, and as time passes, they might feel like we don't feel the same as we did when the incident happened, when nothing can be further from the truth," said CPD Supt. David Brown.

The first stop of the weekend was the home of Officer Carlos Yanez.

Yanez was shot twice in the same incident that killed Officer Ella French in August 2021. Now, continuing to recover, Yanez said moments like these mean everything to him.

"Oh, my God, I'm just in awe... Words can't describe what's going on... It's amazing that Chicago Memorial Foundation, along with so many others, bring so much joy to officers' families that lost so much," Yanez said.

Yanez said he's doing well and is relying on his support system to keep going. Most of all, he's looking forward to more holidays and time spent with his 4-year-old son, Carlos.

"He's a big ball of energy right now... So I just wanna be able to play ball with him and catch... And just wrestle... All these little things we take for granted," Yanez said.

Santa is set to visit 13 families this weekend. It's a message of unity and joy for these Gold Star families, in a tradition that continues to bring the holiday spirit to Chicago.

"We never forget," Santa said. "We will never forget their families made the ultimate sacrifice for this city and for the community."