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Temple Israel gives gift baskets to first responders on Christmas Eve

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(WOLF) -- Ann Smith and her grandson Noah presented the Laflin Volunteer Fire Company with two gift baskets full of snacks this morning.

Ann is a member of Temple Israel of Wilkes-Barre.

For the last five years its social action committee has made gift baskets for local first responders and given them out on Christmas Eve as a way of showing thanks.

“That’s a day when everybody should be home and with their families. We are from Temple Israel, we’re Jewish so we don’t celebrate Christmas, but are very appreciative when people are available to help out in a crisis even though its Christmas,” Smith said.

Noah got a tour of the building and equipment and a lot of love from the Laflin crew.

“We talk a lot about the fire department being 24/7, 365 and things like this we appreciate so much,” Chief Marc Malvizzi said.

“Very often whether it be Christmas or Thanksgiving, we might have to get up from the table because fires are never scheduled.”

Colleen Kranson and her family are Temple Israel members too.

They took baskets to the emergency room staff at Geisinger Wyoming Valley and later to police in Plains Township.

“The gifts are actually purchased by the Temple staff, Jane Messinger and my husband Evan Kranson, go out and purchase everything. This year in addition to donations from the Temple congregants we also had donations from various stores, Gerrity’s, Wegmans, K-mart,” Kranson said.

“To be recognized is always terrific. We don’t do this job for that. There is no such thing as a weekend, a holiday, or a night shift in emergency medicine, but to be able to be recognized for the staff I think its wonderful,” Emergency Department Director Ronald Strony, M.D. said.

Rosemary, Richard, and Leah brought baskets to the VA Hospital in Wilkes-Barre Township.

Our cameras couldn’t capture the moment the baskets were given inside, but the location is special to their family. Richard is a veteran himself.

“We’ve requested to do the VA Hospital for a number of years and basically what we’re trying to do is recognize the first responders particularly at this facility because they’re serving the men and women who have served us as a country,” Goldberg said.

This year, 70 baskets were made, a big increase from the 30 given out during the project’s first year.

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