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Airmen brave winter storm to bring gifts to foster families

  • Published
  • 419th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Known as the “Santa Brigade,” Reserve and active-duty Airmen from across Hill AFB braved snowy roads Dec. 15 to hand-deliver Christmas presents to Utah children in foster care.

Each year, roughly 90 Airmen from the 419th Fighter Wing, 388th Fighter Wing, 649th Munitions Squadron, and others from Hill AFB volunteer alongside the Utah Foster Care Foundation, traveling across the state to meet families and bring a bit of holiday cheer.

“I love the tradition of supporting this event,” said Master Sgt. Mikael Cunningham, a reservist in the 419th Maintenance Squadron. “Leading the Santa Brigade’s delivery each year is a wonderful feeling, knowing how much happiness we bring to all these kids.”

Although the brigade is a long-standing tradition, Airmen not only delivered the gifts this year, they also purchased many of the gifts themselves. The troops sponsored 50 children, donating more than 150 gifts overall.

“From the very first time I volunteered to deliver gifts and witnessed the excitement and joy we brought to them, I was hooked and wanted to do it every year,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said Airmen were filled with the holiday spirit, donating beyond the three items on each child’s wish list, including extra toys, clothes, hygienic supplies, and stocking stuffers.