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Operation Santa brings early Christmas cheer to families of fallen CPD officers

By WBBM Staff

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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — Santa Claus joined the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation on Sunday to help bring Christmas joy to families of fallen and seriously injured officers.

He traded in his sleigh for a motorcade, making several stops for Operation Santa. Mrs. Claus and several elves were there to help.

They visited almost a dozen homes, bringing gifts and good cheer in what has become a bittersweet tradition.

One officer’s widow said the kindness is so important, and described how she explained Santa’s surprise visit to her 6-year-old daughter.

“I said, ‘You know what? Santa just doesn’t want to forget about you. It’s an extra stop, because he’s thinking of you; and the city of Chicago, and police are thinking about you today because of your dad being such a hero,'” said Maria Marmolejo, whose husband, Officer Edward Marmolejo, was struck and killed by a train in 2018 while investigating a call of shots fired.

The foundation honors the memories and lives of officers who were killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty. Since 2007, with the help of donations, the foundation has provided more than $17 million to those officers’ families.

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