Santa Claus rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle Wednesday night to The Children’s Inn at NIH, escorted by a cavalry of 40 Montgomery County police officers, all on motorcycles.
The lights and sirens of the police procession lit up the night as Inn families huddled in blankets outside to watch the moving procession.
"Santa’s here, Santa’s here,’’ squealed Nakema Twitty, 3 of North Carolina, her eyes fixed on the large red suit perched on his bike. "Ho, Ho, Ho,’’ said Santa, climbing down to greet her.
Santa’s visit was a highlight at The Inn where as many as 59 families travel from across the country and around the world to stay together with their children – all free of charge - while participating in medical research at the National Institutes of Health.
Montgomery County Police officers, many with the traffic division, spent the day collecting donations for children at The Inn.
"It’s a day of bringing smiles,’’ said Police Sgt. Tom Harmon, along with face paint and presents and a chance to sit on a motorcycle. This year, police stayed longer to escort Inn children while they "shopped’’ at The Inn’s Gingerbread Gift Shoppe to find gifts for their siblings and parents.
The "Shop with a Cop’’ program was a popular hit.
"It was cool,’’ said Tami Eaglehorse, 13, from Kentucky. Especially Santa.
Indeed, Santa had a special bond with the kids, explained Sgt. Harmon: “He is a cancer survivor.”
The evening was memorable for both police and Inn families, said Laura King, The Inn’s Director of Volunteers and Community Outreach, who organized the event with Harmon. "We are very grateful for their generosity.’’