Hospitalized Children Get Visit from Santa

Gifts are donated by corporate sponsors

By BJ Lutz and Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009  |  Updated 5:20 PM CDT
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Santa Gets Secret Service Escort

Charlie Wojciechowski

Santa and Mrs. Claus get the Presidential treatment on their way to distribute toys to kids at Comer Children's Hospital.

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Santa Gets Secret Service Escort

Volunteers from several law enforcement agencies teamed up Wednesday with Santa and Mrs. Claus to bring some early holiday cheer to sick and underprivileged children across Chicago.
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Volunteers from several law enforcement agencies teamed up Wednesday with Santa and Mrs. Claus to bring some early holiday cheer to sick and underprivileged children across Chicago.

The 11th annual holiday mission -- an effort by the United States Secret Service, Chicago Police, the FBI, the  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services -- kicked off just after noon at Chicago Police Department Headquarters.

More than 300 children at Comer Children's Hospital and Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center received gifts, which were donated by corporate sponsors. 

The event shows off the "human side" for the agencies, the Secret Service's Thomas Kelly said. 

Part of Operation Shining Star's goal is to recognize the sacrifice of Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.

"Christmas is difficult, at times, but this brings a little healing,"  one widow said.  "We'll never get over it, and we'll never forget, but it's good to know that they never forget.  They honor them.  This is beautiful."

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