About 172 children, 150 local first responder Heroes and 162 volunteers pose in front of Walmart early in the morning Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 for the annual Lassen County Holiday with a Hero event.

Holiday with a Hero event returns Dec. 16

The annual Lassen County Holiday with a Hero event returns Dec. 16, and organizers are planning on another successful event.

Organizer Terra Avilla shared some information the public may not be aware of regarding Holiday with a Hero.

“Our program is unique because parents don’t apply for our program,” Avilla said. “The kids get loved on and spoiled during Christmas, but our qualification is not income based. Granted, a lot of our children have that financial need, that financial struggle, but our criteria is we’re trying to repair relationships and bridge gaps between our county’s first responders and children in the community. So, what we do to nominate a child is we use the police department, we use the Child Advocacy Center, we use Lassen Family Services, Unfortunately with the job I have, I work with children who have negative constant contact with (first responders).

“Last year, for example, we had a family who were great people,” she said. “Mom and dad both worked and they had the finances for Christmas. But they lost a baby in the hospital after months and months and months, Baby went into surgery, and baby didn’t come out. Baby had siblings and now that’s what they think of doctors, nurses, hospitals and medical staff — little brother not coming back. So, for them, we’re like no, have your kiddos come and we’re going to pair them with nurses so now they can have a different memory with someone in that field.”

Another example is a family whose house burned down in Paradise. They got insurance, and the family is whole, but the kids associate fire fighters with such a tragic event. The Hero for those children would be a firefighter.

Those who wish to contribute may drop off donations at the Susanville Fire Department. Donations also are accepted on the Holiday with a Hero Facebook page facebook.com/donate/255431120546242/10168135799665417/. Those who wishe to make donations on the phone could call Avilla at (530) 257-6181, ext. 8027, but she said the probably the most convenient way to donate is through vemo.

Susanville Fire Department Assistant Chief Dan Weaver and volunteer Jordan Rice help Baylie, 5, try on a warm pair of boots, during a previous Lassen County Holiday with a Hero event.

Here are some details about this year’s event
Once again, Lassen Community College will host the event at the gym, and the children, along with their heroes, will be transported to WalMart by Lassen Rural Bus.  There the Hero will shop with their child and then return to LCC with the child and their purchases.

High Desert State Prison correctional officer Teresa Gilcrest and volunteer Taylor Greeg help Aubrey, 2, pick out the perfect Paw Patrol scooter.

Light Parade
Holiday with a Hero will stage a light parade at the Community Church, 1400 Numa Road. The lobby will be open at 6:45 a.m., and there will be coffee and food available. Heroes should arrive no later than 7:15 a.m. to prepare for the light parade.

The parade will leave Community Church parking lot at approximately 7:55 a.m., turn right on Numa, turn right onto Springridge, then turn right onto Higheway139.  After turning into the LCC entrance, they will turn left on their main drive which will take us all the way around where we will end up at the parking area for the gym. The children and their families will be waiting along the south side of the gym to see the parade. Once the Heroes are parked, they can walk over to meet the families.

BLM ranger Darren Vonhelf peruses the pajamas with Holiday with a Hero participants Kenyon and volunteer Gabe Delgado.

Santa will arrive by helicopter at approximately 8:15 a.m. on the south end of the parking lot. Once Santa lands and greets the children and families, children will be paired with their Hero.

Susanville Police officers Ryan Barham and Nou Xiong and volunteer Isabel England shop with Georgia, 5, during the Lassen County Holiday with a Hero event.

Once the Heroes are paired with a child, they will load one of the buses and head down to shop. This will be the same as previous years where Heroes will be provided an informational page for the child on some things that they need, some things that they are interested in and any special considerations that there may be for that individual child. Once the shopping is complete, they will head to the front of the store and be checked out.  From there you can go out to the bus area in front of the building where buses will be available to take groups back to the college and the children can meet with their families.

For more information, email Terra Avilla at justthegirlcop@gmail.com or call (530) 257-6181, ext. 8027..