Local first responders will team up once again to ensure every Cochranite's Christmas is merry and bright. 

The annual First Responder Parades begin this week and will see every neighbourhood included over the next couple of weeks. 

Town councillor and parade organizer, Marni Fedeyko says for nine nights Cochrane Fire Services, Cochrane Municipal Enforcement, Cochrane RCMP, and Cochrane and Area Victim Services will team up to help make Christmas a special one for everyone in our town.   

"Basically what we do is we have a big convey go through each and every community. We go in and we collect donations of non-perishable food items, gifts, toys and anything to help make everybody have a great Christmas here in Cochrane." 

She says it's pretty incredible to see the community come together each year for this. 

"I have seen some of the most touching moments out there when I have ridden along the parade route, between little kids holding up signs that say 'I love you', to seeing kids dressed up as future firemen or firewomen. Also, it brings a lot of great pride to first responders as well."    

Sue Lunnin, president of the Cochrane Activettes says the donations from the parades go a long way in helping to ensure the Share Your Christmas program is a success each year. 

"It has been a huge contributor. We look forward to the First Responder Parades every year, and it definitely brings in a very big percentage of our donations into our Toyland and into our food bank."   

The tentative dates and locations for this year's parades are as follows: 

• Nov 21: Fireside

• Nov 23: Riversong, Willows, Rivercrest, Precedence, Riviera

• Nov 24: East end, Cochrane Heights, Sunterra

• Nov 28: Jumping Pound, Bow Meadows, Crawford Ranch, Bow Ridge

• Nov 30: West Valley, West Terrace, West Pointe

• Dec 1: Sunset Ridge

• Dec 5: Heritage Hills/ Heartland

• Dec 6: Glenbow, Riverview

• Dec 7: Gleneagles

To get a good view of the emergency vehicles, and to hand in your donation, it's best to stand on the side walk in front of your home. 

"We generally try to hit every street that we can. Keep in mind that some of our newer communities, it's tight, especially if there is construction going on, we can't have convoys of firetrucks going down because it is so squishy. We do our best to hit every street." says Fedeyko. 

If you can't be home when the parade is set to roll through your neighbourhood, Fedeyko says you can leave your donation at the end of your driveway. 

The parades are subject to cancellation if first responders are called out to an emergency.

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