Santa trades in sleigh for chopper to visit kids


SUNCOAST – Santa’s reindeer had the day off so Santa showed up in style by chopper.

Santa greeted about 153 kids invited to The North Pole who either have disabilities or are terminally ill.

Fourteen-year-old Jerry Bussell has autism, ADHD, Tourettes and Craniosynostosis but today he’s just a regular boy.

“I make new friends every time I come here,” he says.

Jerry’s mom, Brenda Bussell, says she does too.

“You’re able to talk to the parents that are going through the same thing,” explains Bussell.

Manatee Sheriff Rick Wells says Santa didn’t come empty-handed

“Every toy they want is here today,” he adds.

The event started in 1985 by flight attendants. Years later, the Sheriffs Office, along with Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and Fire Department, keeps the annual tradition going. This year they celebrated the 32nd annual “Flight to the North Pole”.


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