This week, we’re saluting Chris Garramone, Dispatch/Communications Manager at the Wheat Ridge Police Department. The spirit of Christmas lives all year round with Chris. Of the 25 years he’s spent with the department, twenty of those have been serving as Blue Santa. Some years ago a blue velvet Santa suit was donated to the department, and while it didn’t fit then, he reports that he’s grown into the Santa suit and the role.
Initially it was a request by the local Fraternal Order of Police to serve as Santa to hear the wish lists of children whose moms and dads worked for Wheat Ridge PD. That expanded to volunteering as Santa for annual fundraising events for needy families to ensure each child had a gift to open Christmas morning. This year Chris was asked to don the Santa suit again for the Volunteers of America’s Holiday Party for the Homeless. “Somehow I just didn’t seem to be capturing the spirit of the season until that party. Instead of children, there were mostly adults in attendance. For them Santa wasn’t about the presents he might bring Christmas day, it was about hope and something to hold onto into the New Year.”
Chris’s giving doesn’t stop once this holiday is over. “Doing the right thing and making people happy makes me happy,” he said. For the past 16 years he has lent his time and his boat to the Denver Parks and Rec adaptive recreation program ensuring those with physical disabilities get to enjoy time on the water, particularly the experience of water skiing. Making a difference for the community is also shared by his kids. His two daughters spent summers joining dad to help out the program. Daughter Jessica went on to get her degree in recreation therapy and returned after graduation to secure a position with the adaptive program.
And in case you thought he wasn’t busy enough, Chris learned sign language to better communicate with hearing-impaired and deaf parishioners who attend St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church. “I don’t sign well enough to translate the services, but I’ve made some fantastic friends just spending time talking with those who choose to worship there.”
Thanks, Chris…for truly making a difference for the Wheat Ridge community. And for going – Beyond the Badge.