It is impossible to count the number of sick children Santa and his very special helpers--the Bergen County Chiefs of Police--have brought joy to over the last 30 years as they deliver toys to the pediatric wards and clinics of Englewood, Holy Name Medical Center and Valley Hospitals.
But they did it again Wednesday, as Santa went from floor to floor, hospital to hospital, surprising children as they lie in their bed, many attached to tubes in their arms, some too sick to show joy.
Jack Murphy, ret. Chief from Englewood Cliffs, one of the founding members of this annual tradition, continues to lead the way every year.
"This is a tradition that I want to see carried on," Murphy said. "I'm always glad to see the turnout for this event and know that it continues to mean something."
New Milford Chief of Police Frank Papapietro said that this is the one event he looks forward to every year.
"As a parent, visiting the hospitals and seeing all the sick children is a very grounding experience," he said. "And seeing the smiles that Santa puts on their face is priceless."
Despite his town and his department suffering heavy losses in Hurricane Sandy, Chief Michael Maguire from Moonachie joined the group as the chiefs made their rounds with Santa.
Also participating was Cliffside Park Chief Donald Keane, in-coming president of the Bergen County Chiefs Association.
Each child received a hand-delivered present from Santa donated by the Bergen County Chiefs Association.
Other chiefs who joined Santa, but are not pictured, are: Frank Regino (Westwood), Edward Kasper (Oakland), Joe Madden (Park Ridge), and Tim McWilliams (Saddle River).