By Lt. Charlene Billings, AA/PIO
California Correctional Center

California Correctional Center (CCC) was proud to participate in the Dec. 16 annual Holiday with a Hero event in Susanville. The event is one of the largest collective emergency agency programs in Lassen County.

Lassen County law enforcement agencies and the Lassen County community joined together and donated funds for less fortunate children to have a magical Christmas to remember. CCC sponsored 10 children by donating $1,000 to Holiday with a Hero, with funds raised by the inmates through food sales and Christmas photo projects.

The morning began with a parade of fire engines, police cruisers, and ambulances with lights and sirens blaring pulling into the Susanville Walmart parking lot. Warden Suzanne Peery and other Holiday Heroes were in the caravan of vehicles, greeted by over 140 children who patiently waited for Santa’s arrival. But Santa wasn’t in the parade. Jolly ol’ St. Nick instead made a spectacular entrance by arriving in a helicopter. The kids began cheering and screaming Santa’s name with joy as he arrived and greeted them.

Warden Peery, CCC Investigative Services Unit, CCC/High Desert Honor Guard, law enforcement officers including Susanville Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Lassen County Sheriff, City of Susanville Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management, first responders and many more accompanied children throughout the store to buy their wish-list items, make memories, and revel in the Christmas spirit.

Christmas carolers provided entertainment for everyone’s enjoyment. Local organizations also participated by setting up stations throughout the store where children had their faces painted, decorated cookies, and were provided breakfast and hot chocolate.

Holiday with a Hero gives many children a Christmas experience they may not otherwise have and encourages positive relationships with law enforcement and first responders in the community. Words cannot express the overwhelming feeling of joy it brings to be a part of making Christmas special for children in the community.