13 On Your Side's Vanessa Gongora shares why this event is so special to the community
HOLTVILLE, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - Holtville firefighters have been spreading Christmas cheer to kids in the community for 14 years with the Guardian Angel event.
After losing one of their own in 2018, they changed the name to 'Jonny B the EMT Guardian Angel," which started four years ago.
This year about $6,300 was raised to help buy gifts for local kids in need.
Kids are chosen every year by their elementary and middle schools to receive gifts.
There were 35 children this year that participated.
20 from Finley Elementary, 10 from Holtville Middle School, and five from Pine School.
This time was a little different for the kids because the elementary schoolers got to choose which bike suited them best.
Finley Elementary School student Zechariah Rodriguez says he likes the green one.
Not only did they pick a bicycle or scooter, but they each also got a $100 Walmart gift card.
Holtville Fire Chief Alex Silva says if you ever have a doubt about the holidays, just come to this event. It'll put you back in.
"It's amazing. The look on these kids' faces. It's just amazing," continues Silva. "This is what Christmas is about."
Chief Silva thanks the sponsors who helped raise funds and to Jonny Burnworth's family who set up a Go Fund Me.
"Of course the Burnworth's did a fantastic job and we got different agencies. 4H donated a lot of money. The 4H Club donated money, then they had a boys against girls fundraiser to see who did more and I think the girls raised more money than the boys did," explains Silva. "And then we have different organizations, Coopers Insurance. I don't want to forget anybody. Mr. Daniels, they just came by and gave us money but a lot of it came through the Burnworth's."
Jonny B's cousin, Michelle Keperling drove from San Diego to be a part of this special day.
"This was an event that was extremely important to my cousin and when he was here at the fire department and this is just you know really been a way for us to continue that legacy for him," says Keperling. "For his kids to see, our family to participate."
Any money left over will go to the Holtville Fire Explorers Program.