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Santa rides through the streets of Riverside, Mo. on a fire truck

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RIVERSIDE, Mo. -- The Riverside Fire Department is starting a new tradition during the holidays that involves safety, connecting with the community, and putting smiles on the faces of kids in the city.

If you were out and about on Saturday, you may have noticed Santa hitching a ride on a fire truck.

"I use to do in another department and the guys all really enjoyed it, and the kids enjoyed it and Santa Claus always has a lot of fun too,” said Riverside Fire Chief Gordon Fowlston.

Santa, and about ten of his helpers cruised the streets of Riverside, handing out candy and meeting families.

Aside from putting smiles on the faces of the little ones, Chief Fowlson said the effort is all about letting the folks of riverside know his department is here for them

“Getting people to know that we're out there and that what we're there is really for the public, and it's nice for Santa Claus to make sure he knows where all the houses are,” said Chief Fowlson.

After visiting about a dozen neighborhoods, Santa and his crew said their goodbyes.

Not to worry if you missed Santa this year, because the fire department plans to do it all again next year.

“If we make one kid do something good in his life, that's making a difference to us,” said Chief Fowlston.

The Riverside Fire Department used Twitter, to update neighborhood kids about Santa’s status as he passed through the neighborhoods.

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