CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News) — Santa Claus has a busy schedule as Christmas draws near, but he made an appearance at the inaugural Pancakes with Santa event, held Saturday morning at the Katy Fire Station, 1417 Avenue D.
Proceeds from the breakfast will pay for a Katy Independent School District student to attend EMT school, the fire academy, or paramedic school.
The Katy Professional Firefighters Association organized the breakfast. Union president Harry Haynes credited Trey Lee, a fellow firefighter, and union vice president, with the idea.
Haynes said that organizing and staging the breakfast required help from many people and sponsors, such as HEB, which provided the food.
“The cost of attending these schools have risen drastically,” Lee said. “They’ve become a little more expensive. There’s also a decline in paramedics in our area.”
Lee said that while it wasn’t known if the decline in paramedics was due to the increased tuition, the association wanted to help. Funds raised this year will help one student, but the hope is that as the event becomes an annual tradition, more money will be raised and more students will be supported as they pursue their professional training.
Approximately 60,000 people learned of Saturday’s event through social media, and they received approximately 3,500 responses indicating interest in attending. No precise attendance count was immediately available, but Fire Chief Russell Wilson said that judging from the crowd, he expected the Pancakes with Santa would become an annual event.
“There was a lot of effort, pounding the pavement, and getting sponsors,” Wilson said. “They did this. It has nothing to do with me. I basically just said go for it, you’re welcome to use the station. So, all of this is their teamwork. This has been going on for weeks. It’s very impressive, to say the least.”
Saturday’s breakfast also gave the association an opportunity to promote two other causes. One of the causes, The Firefighter Cancer Support Center, was presented a check for more than $2,400. Wilson said firefighters are at higher risk for cancer because they are exposed to dangerous chemicals and smoke when fighting fires. Lisa Wilson, the chief’s wife, worked with the association to raise the money for the donation.
Haynes and Lee also said the association has partnered with Katy Elementary School to sponsor a giving tree to support 10 students who need food and clothing at Christmas.
Pancakes with Santa was one of two family events held Saturday in or near downtown Katy. The Ninth Annual Katy Old Fashioned Christmas, held that afternoon, was the other. A good-sized crowd, perhaps a thousand or so, enjoyed Saturday’s beautiful weather and took advantage of the shopping opportunities.
For more information, the association welcomes inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org or through its Facebook page.