Dubuque County EMS delivers Christmas spirit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque County EMS delivers Christmas spirit

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Emergency personnel delivered gifts Sunday afternoon to residents at Dubuque's Hills and Dales.

That's a non-profit organization for children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities.

Police cars and fire trucks arrived with sirens blaring, to the delight of several young residents waiting outside to greet the law enforcement officials. It took an entire parking lot of emergency vehicles to deliver the holiday spirit.

"Our firefighters and our officers, you know, they see so many, you know, not the best things in the world, and when you see these kids, you know they're the ones who are really in need, and there's so much we can do for them," Dubuque 911 lead dispatcher Vicki Leonard said.

Santa and his official helpers came with armfuls of presents for the facility's 46 residents, but residents weren't the only gift recipients. EMS surprised Hills and Dales with a $5,000 donation for the paratransit vehicle the non-profit hopes to purchase this spring.

Hills and Dales executive director Marilyn Althoff said, "Getting them out in the community and to all their doctors appointments and activities requires, you know, a vehicle that's wheelchair accessible, so that's what we're raising money for, and this gift goes a long ways towards that."

She said the organization is still accepting donations for the vehicle.

EMS also raised $4,000 for the Biver Brothers Memorial Fund.

"That money is used for the kids' personal needs through the year, like shoes or a new coat," Leonard said.

At this 11th annual Hills and Dales 911 Christmas celebration, EMS personnel honored Dubuque's Marine Lance Corporal Christopher Billmyer, who lost his legs this fall in Afghanistan. Residents wore shirts with his name, Billmyer's aunt received a special plaque with the residents' fingerprints and EMS made a donation to the Lance Corporal Christopher Billmyer fund.

Those in attendance said the afternoon festivities boosted the holiday spirit.

"Once we do the delivery to Hills and Dales, that's truly the start of Christmas for everybody," Leonard said.

Hills and Dales also offers support to about 200 individuals with disabilities in Dubuque and the surrounding area. It is a 37-year-old local organization.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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