This year’s C.A. Lynch Hose Company’s annual Christmas Day Candy Run began on a somber note. Members had the memory of the recently departed fireman Capt. Jack Rose on their minds.
“It’s starting out sad but by the end of the day you’ll see these firefighters smiling,” said firefighter Jimmy Gage.
He was right. After criss-crossing the village and passing out candy to more than 1,000 kids — and some sweet-toothed former kids — the firemen were all smiles.
“We haven’t missed a Candy Run in the 96 years the company has been doing it,” Gage said. “Even during the war years of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, the Candy Run continued every Christmas day. Except for one year a few years ago when the whiteout conditions made it too dangerous to drive, so we did it a day later.”
At its peak, the fire company was distributing 1,200 boxes of candy. This year it was a little more than 1,000.
For many years, Charles W. Meiswinkel, Sr. played Santa. After he retired, a number of others took on the role. Eventually Meiswinkel’s son, Charles W. Meiswinkel, Jr., took over.
Firefighters said it takes two crews, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, to complete all the streets because so many residents stop them for photos with Santa.
“We left today on a sad note, but after seeing all these kids, it’s something sent from heaven for us,” Gage said.