Santa delivers! Watch him bring Army private back to a loving little sister!
BEACHWOOD — All Raymond Kanoc's little sister wanted for Christmas was him. And Santa delivered.
Santa made his rounds around the Ocean County community on Sunday during the Beachwood Volunteer Fire Company's annual Candy Cane Drop, and pulled up in front of the Longport Avenue home of the family of US Army Spc. Raymond Kanoc.
As Saint Nick greeted the family, Kanoc — who'd missed the last three Christmases with his family — hopped out of one of fire trucks, much to the surprise of his family.
First to greet the Toms River High School south graduate was his grandfather, Leonard Saia, a retired Battalion Chief with the Paterson Fire Department, who hugged his grandson.
Next up was little sister Sierra, who hugged her big brother tightly to the applause of the firefighters and neighbors. Sierra had made a Christmas wish this year — to finally see her big brother at home for the holiday.
"You don't see it in the video — some of our guys wiped a tear from their eyes. It was a very good morning for us," Beachwood Fire Chief Roger Hull said.
Hull said Kanoc's mother contacted him about surprising the family with Raymond's arrival. Raymond's father was also in on the surprise as he picked him up early Sunday morning at Newark Liberty Airport.
"The only hiccup was that the weather delayed his flight but we still made it work," Hull said.
Hull said "it was an honor to be asked to do something for a soldier. I come from a military family and a lot of our guys do. We're big supporters of the military, the police, other fire departments, EMTs. We're a big family. I know it sounds like a cliche and it's repeated but every freedom we have is because of the soldiers."
The Candy Cane Drop was changed up this year by Hull — who opened up Santa's appearances to requests from individuals, hoping to bring Santa to as many people as possible.
"We got a lot of requests from special needs families where kids couldn't physically come outside. The day was extra special with the amount of time the guys got to spend stopping and actually getting off the truck and going in houses and taking pictures" with several of Santa's helpers.