Santa visits Jackson kids in a helicopter

Teton County Search and Rescue helped Santa pay a visit to kids across Teton County today in their brand new chopper.
Santa steps out of TSCAR's new search and rescue chopper at Jackson Elementary School (Tyler Pratt/KHOL)

by | Dec 22, 2023 | News


Children in Teton County got a holiday surprise this afternoon —  a visit from Santa, who rode in on a helicopter. After a foggy start to the day, Santa made it to several elementary schools this afternoon, to the delight of hundreds of children. 

Santa lands at Jackson Elementary School in TSCAR’s new multi-million dollar rescue chopper (Tyler Pratt/KHOL)

Kids at Jackson Elementary were playing outside the school, just before they went home for winter break. Word had just gotten out that Santa was paying them a visit in a chopper — a brand new 7 million dollar ship for Teton County Search & Rescue. 

Kids get hugs from Santa (Tyler Pratt/KHOL)

Their foundation received around 2,000 donations for the fundraiser this year called Mission Critical, The  new helicopter may quicken response times in a hot spot for backcountry adventure. 

Students at Jackson Elementary anxiously wait for Santa to arrive (Tyler Pratt/KHOL)

“This is just a way for us to show appreciation for the community and all the support they gave for Mission Critical and all the support they gave us to get a helicopter, and really just a way to bring a little cheer for the kids,” said Don Watkins, volunteer with the search and rescue operation. “It’s all about the kids.” 

Kids give presents to Santa to deliver to other children (Tyler Pratt/KHOL)

Suddenly off in the distance, the sound of rotor blades got louder. And the kids went bananas. 

Santa landed in a red and black helicopter on the school field. 

Santa existing a helicopter (Tyler Pratt/KHOL)

In his red suit and white beard he ran over the ice and snow, flanked by elves in rescue gear while the kids screamed with job.

Santa took time to hug hundreds of students, some who gave him presents to deliver to other children. Some kids gave him bracelets. 

Santa gives a hug to a young girl at Jackson Elementary School (Tyler Pratt/KHOL)

And then in a flash, it was time for him to take off and head back to the North Pole. But as he left he reminded everyone: 

“The meaning of Christmas is love, family and friendship.” – Santa

Santa hugs hundreds of Jackson Elementary students after surprising them in a helicopter (Tyler Pratt/KHOL)

And Santa said if sleigh ever breaks, or his reindeer need a rest —- now he’s got a backup helicopter. 

Santa leaving Jackson elementary in a helicopter (Tyler Pratt/KHOL)

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About Tyler Pratt

Tyler has over a decade of experience as a jack-of-all-trades at public radio newsrooms across the U.S. He's a Columbia Journalism School alum with a passion for reporting on criminal justice, social justice, and LGBTQ+ issues. He loves New Orleans Saints football, dance floors, tasting new wines and trying out taco spots. Follow Tyler on Twitter @prattattak

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