Officer Bob Ladany dresses up each year as Santa and rides his Harley throughout Montgomery County, escorted by Mrs. Claus, his elves and 40 uniformed officers. They were collecting donations for The Children’s Inn at the National Institutes for Health.
Photo by Deb Stevens.
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Santa came roaring into Potomac Village on Wednesday, Dec. 16 — not on a sleigh pulled by tiny reindeer — but on a Harley surrounded by elves and a bevy of police officers on motorcycles. He was accompanied by 40 uniformed officers from the Montgomery County Police Motor Division. They began their journey through Montgomery County in Germantown and on the way, they stopped at the Potomac Place Shopping Center to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and to collect donations for The Children’s Inn at the National Institutes for Health.
The weather was sunny and warm for this journey for the police. They received a rousing welcome in each community as they made their way south through Montgomery County. Officer David McBain said, “All day long, people have come out to greet us. We had an awesome lunch provided by ‘Not Your Average Joes’ and then the event will finish with a party for the children and families at The Children’s Inn. I’ve been in this event for five years but the police have been escorting Santa for charity for more than 20 years. This is a day that we look forward to every year and we are pleased that we can help this extraordinary charity that provides a home to children and families while they are in treatment.”
Officer Bob Ladany was dressed as Santa Claus and his wife Jackie was Mrs. Claus. He has been playing the role since 2003 and “loves doing it each year.”
Laura King, senior director of Volunteers and Community Outreach and Meredith Daley, assistant director of Volunteers and Community Outreach at The Children’s Inn were dressed as Santa’s helpers.
“This has been a fun day,” King said. “We’ve been traveling throughout Montgomery County since 9 a.m. with Santa and his police escorts. The party at The Children’s Inn will feature face painting, holiday crafts — and a gift shop set up for the kids to shop for their families — each child will be accompanied by a police officer to help them choose that perfect gift. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also entertain the children. It is a really wonderful day for our officers, our families and children — and for us.”
The day was exceptionally special for two young brothers from Potomac. Four-year-old Joshua and 6-year-old Samuel Ziglar were invited to sit on the police officers’ Harleys and to ask questions from the officers. Joshua said, “The motorcycles are really big and shiny,” and Samuel said, “I loved sitting on the motorcycle. It was fun and the officer told me that if Santa rode with the policemen, he didn’t have to stop at all the lights.”
The Children’s Inn is a private, nonprofit, family-centered residence for pediatric outpatients at the National Institutes of Health. Its purpose is to keep children together with their families during serious illness, reduce families’ stress, and facilitate the healing process through mutual support. Families never pay to stay at the Inn. The Inn is supported by donations from businesses and organizations. In fiscal year 2015, more than 1,500 families came from 50 states and 86 countries to stay at The Inn. These families came to the National Institutes of Health to find treatment, a cure, or a diagnosis for a seriously ill child.
“We hope everyone will donate to this special event,” King said. “Charitable, tax-deductible donations will help The Children’s Inn continue to provide much needed services to seriously ill children and their families. To provide a financial donation online, please visit our website at www.childrensinn.org, click on ‘Donate,’ enter your information and indicate that you are giving in response to the ‘Santa Police Ride.’”