First responders save Christmas

Saratoga Springs fire, police unions organize charitable event for needy kids

Joanne Yepsen, Mary Hagadorn, Paul Staulters and Michael O’Reilly hold presents for area children.

Joanne Yepsen, Mary Hagadorn, Paul Staulters and Michael O’Reilly hold presents for area children. Photo by Marci Revette.

— “Those people are incredible,” he said. “Their help is amazing. I called and they had pulled all the coats for us. When we got there they checked the list and pulled the rest of the items. They are amazing over there.”

Paul Staulters, a retired firefighter, has been helping O’Reilly organize the event.

“Paul and I are really tight, we work together and have a lot of fun,” said O’Reilly. “He called me this year and said he was looking to do something different for Christmas and asked if I had anything going on. … He’s been a great help. He’s organized and gotten a lot of donations for us. He got the food donated, he got the Elks Club donated, plus he’s gone out and got monetary donations from people that I didn’t tap into last year.”

Staulters said he got a lot of cooperation and donations through area veterans clubs and private clubs. He wants to make sure they are all acknowledged.

“The Eagles Club 2586 especially have been great,” said Staulters. “Not only did they let us use their facilities today, but they made a sizable donation of $750.”

Anna Hagadorn, a representative from the Eagles Club, said they were glad to help out.

“This is a big deal. We help out a lot of organizations,” said Hagadorn. “Our motto is people helping people.”

Other donations have come from the Principessa Elena Society, ITAM, the Beau Kilmer Fund, the Elks Club in Saratoga and Ballston Spa, Allerdice Rental, Almost Saratoga and the American Legion.

Staulters also wanted to recognize Mama Mia’s Pizza, who donated 15 pizzas, pasta and pastries for the party.

When asked why they hold this party every year, O’Reilly said it’s simple.

“For the kids. Last year was phenomenal. The expression on their faces and the gratitude made it all worthwhile,” O’Reilly said.

“The whole concept is to give back to the community,” added Staulters. “This is one very special way we try to give back.”

Saratoga Springs Supervisor Joanne Yepsen has also donated her time for the party.

“The kids deserve this, it is a great effort,” she said. “November is Homeless Awareness Month. There are more than 1,000 homeless families in the Saratoga area. This is a great project to support. It brings together the city.”

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