OFD exchanges toys for smiles at hospital

Posted at 4:25 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 17:25:57-05

From fighting fires to fighting frowns, the Omaha Fire Department passed out toys to kids at Children’s Hospital in Omaha.

“We spent Christmas' here, we know what it's like to be here for Christmas at the hospital. It's not fun,” said 8-year Omaha Fire Department Veteran Ryan Loewenstein.

Along with Santa, he and other firefighters go from room to room, with toys, specifically tailored to the patients. At one time, his 18-month-old son Easton, was one of those patients.

“The joy of coming back helping these kids far outweighs the sadness,” said Loewenstein.

Little Easton lost his battle in 2008.

Every Christmas season; on around his birthday, Easton’s spirit lives on and helps bring a smile to patients, patiently awaiting their chance to go home.

“It’s a very kind gesture, especially a way to serve the kiddos here, just a really cool act-of-kindness,” said Hannah Randell. Her daughter 11-year-old daughter Grace received one of the toys.

It’s also a warm way to show the true Christmas spirit.

“You can go and give the kids a present, give them some resemblance of back home,” Loewenstein said. “Even if it's only a half hour of joy, it’s better than sitting in the hospital by yourself or with your parents watching TV.”

The Omaha Fire Department has passed out toys for quite some time, this is Loewenstein’s 7th year, spearheading the effort.