ST. LOUIS - Two months after being involved in a car accident that left their mother dead and their father still hospitalized the children of the couple experienced some Christmas fun.
Santa made a grand entrance and immediately smiles erupted on the faces of the six children of Whitney Thomas Wednesday night at Engine House 33. The 31-year-old woman died in late October after a tragic car crash in north St. Louis. Her kids were also injured. Margie Griffin is an EMT with the St. Louis Fire Department. Griffin remembered that day, “As we're approaching the scene we saw kids scattered out on the grassy area.”
Their father remains hospitalized. Firefighters and EMT’s wanted to be a light for the children who have gone through some dark times. Longtime veterans shared the sadness of that day, “this one hit me hard, my weakest point being on the job is babies,” Said Griffin.
She led efforts to collect toys for the kids and throw a big Christmas party complete with sweet treats. One girl said, “It makes me a lot of happy.”
Five of the kids were able to attend but 11-year-old Zakiya is still recovering. She made an appearance from her hospital room via a cell phone. Dorothy Phillips is the childrens’ aunt, “I gratefully appreciate everyone who has helped us and looked out of us,” she said.
The party lifted the spirits of the kids and the firefighters and EMT’s. Santa Claus who also works as a St. Louis EMT said, “Being here and being a part of this merriment helps a lot to move forward from the horrible things we witnessed that day.”
SSM Health, The Marine Corp’s Toys for Tot’s campaign, local union 73 and firefighters and EMT’s across the area pitched in to make this a success.
“We can’t replace mom but we can give babies some love there is some love out there,” said Griffin.
A GoFundMe page has been established for the family. The 11-year-old daughter, Zakiya, is paralyzed and will need a special house and vehicle to meet her needs.