We recently shared with you the passing of retired Engineer Wayne Eggleston and the sadness it has brought us all. Amidst our grief, we are finding joy in the many wonderful memories that we have of Wayne. He was a son, a father, a brother, a friend, the consummate firefighter and, what many of you may not realize, San Gabriel’s very own Santa.
We’d like to take a moment to tell you just a bit about Wayne and then ask something of the many families in our community whom he touched each holiday season. Wayne served the City of San Gabriel for 31 years, first as a firefighter and then as an engineer providing care for the sick and injured and protection from fires when called upon. He did so with a love for the community, his family in the fire service, and an unparalleled spirit of true service to his fellow man. His ever-present smile and distinct, mischievous laugh, brightened the days of those he worked with and many he encountered through that service.
When Wayne retired in 2012, his desire to continue giving back to the San Gabriel community, and the Fire Department he had invested his life in, couldn’t retire with him. This is why, shortly after his retirement, he began returning each holiday season and donning his new “uniform” as Santa each year. There, perched upon the top of a decorated Mack fire engine, Wayne’s jolly “HO, HO, HO!” could not be mistaken over the sound of the season’s music. Escorted by San Gabriel Fire and Police, he wound up and down each and every street to the glee and delight of so many families, many of yours included.
As we remember Wayne, and as we honor his legacy and many years of service, we make a small request of those whose lives were touched by him. If you are amongst the many families who look forward, each year, to the sound of the siren and the sight of Santa just outside your house, would you please take a moment from your busy day to come say how much Wayne’s service meant to you? San Gabriel Fire Station 51 has made a large card available for our community to express their gratitude to their very own “Santa”, which will be given to his family as a tribute.
Please don’t forget your mask. We will ensure a clean and disinfected environment is available to each of you. The card will be available Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m.. to 4:00 p.m. until Thursday, August 27.