December 12, 2016
For 15 years, Paul Beames has spent Christmas morning at our House with Santa and his fellow firefighters
“The kids.” That’s what has motivated Paul Beames to keep coming back to RMHC Toronto on Christmas morning every year for the past 15 years.
Paul, a 30-year veteran of Toronto Fire Services, is the mastermind behind ensuring Santa and his elves always make an extra special visit to the House on December 25.
“Santa walks in, and the kids are so overwhelmed that he is there for them,” says Paul. Santa and his elves, all firefighters from fire stations near the House, hand out specially-selected toys to each of the children. And after giving the gifts, the kids and their parents get a very special, close-up experience with the fire truck.
“It’s lot of fun. We want the children to feel special on Christmas morning.”
Finding enough enthusiastic volunteers to make the Christmas Day visit is rarely a challenge, says Paul. Over the years, more than 150 firefighters have volunteered. Paul is also grateful to the leadership of the Toronto Fire Services and the Fire Fighters Association for lending their support. They too are enthusiastic about ensuring the firefighting community gives back.
Paul’s ongoing generosity is particularly extraordinary because eight years ago, he celebrated the arrival of his first grandchild. Now the grandfather of three, he still takes a few hours away from his own family to spend it at the House. “My family encourages me to do it,” says Paul. They know his annual ritual is important to him and to the families at RMHC Toronto.