Dec 22, 2014 6:28 PM by Charlene Cheng
With sirens blaring, Redding police vehicles were out in full force this morning, but they weren't pursuing suspects.
With the help of a special guest in blue, the boys and girls in blue sped around town to deliver some holiday cheer.
Thanks to the Redding Peace Officers' Association, Operation Blue Santa has become a local tradition, dating back to 1991.
"It was started over 24 years ago by one of our retired police officers, and he had the desire to spread joy among the kids that were less fortunate," said Redding police officer Nicole Rempfer, who serves as the PAC officer for the Redding POA.
Santa's helpers arrived bright and early to start loading the gifts.
From there, it was off to pay visits to a couple dozen families, including the Hauptmans, who were in need of a festive pick-me-up.
"It was the police department with the blue Santa to give us presents and stuff," Aaron Hauptman said.
"He was wearing blue instead of red," Bethany Hauptman added.
Seven-year-old Bethany was in the family's home on Forest View Drive when it caught on fire last Friday.
"There was smoke everywhere in the kitchen. I was scared and so I prayed to God twice and then I started screaming very loud," she said.
Firefighters were able to get everyone out safely, including the family's tortoise.
While they still have a long road of recovery ahead, the Hauptmans will thankfully still have a Christmas this year.
"All the things are replaceable. We're thankful we have a family that's alive and healthy, and families that are there to help," Bart Hauptman said.
"What it made me feel, it made me feel like people were really caring about us, and that's what matters most," Aydin Hauptman added.
If you'd like to help the family out, there will be a fundraiser at the California Brewing Company in Palo Cedro this Saturday from 4-10 p.m. Money can also be donated through PayPal to email@example.com.