Lincoln fire department saving Christmas this time

December 22, 2004|EMILY BURTON

EUBANK - The second time the fire department came to Paula Ashley's house this year was far better than the first.

But as she raced up her lane after returning home to see the waiting fire engine, she had no idea the volunteers at Lincoln County's stations six and eight were coming to save Christmas, not her house.

Ashley and her three young children stood in shock Tuesday night in their living room near Eubank and watched as boxes of presents, turkey, pie and fruit were placed under their Christmas tree by the firemen.

"They (were) just going to have a rotten Christmas without our help," said Chief Roger Brown.

The last time a fire engine was there, the field behind the Ashley's house was burning out of control. It had been a rough year after that, said Ashley, who burst into tears on Brown's shoulder after she heard they were there to help Santa.


"I thought, well, my house is on fire, that's just what I need now," she said. Ashley had been dropping her husband off at work when the fire department first arrived at her home.

"We've just had a rough time. You put one foot down and have to fall back. Like I told my husband, surely to goodness we will get a better year coming," she said. And so far so good. The new year was looking "a whole lot better."

The department had heard of the family's struggle from the District Chief Troy Gingrass' father, who collects trash in the area, said Assistant Chief Darren Killin.

"He really stressed to Troy that they needed help, and they had kids, and were going to have a rough Christmas."

Enough toys for 65 children

The departments have also collected enough toys to distribute to 65 children in need this year, a program they said they plan on continuing next season. Especially so, now having seen how the children appreciate the gifts.

The Ashleys were going to have trouble waiting for Christmas to unwrap their toys, they agreed.

As Courtney, 4, Waylon, 3, and Dakota, 9, began rifling through the box of wrapped presents, it looked as though Santa had come through for them. But then again, Courtney said she always knew Santa was real. It didn't hurt that he came in a fire engine, either.

"Can we keep the fire truck here?" asked Waylon.

Paula Ashley thanked the departments for their generosity. "It was a big blessing," she added.

Brown said the look on the children's faces, after they realized Santa drove a fire engine, was worth it.

"In my 21 years of being in the service, I've gotten a lot of compliments, like when there's been a house fire and nothing's left, and a little old lady came out and thanked us for trying to save it...

But last night the smile on the kids' faces when we showed them those presents, that did it for me."

Central Kentucky News Articles