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Reservists shop for families in need

Senior Master Sgt. Martez Banks, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, and Master Sgt. Ruby Contreras, 419th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant, search a toy aisle at a Walmart in Salt Lake City for Christmas wish-list items. A group of reservists from the 419th Fighter Wing volunteered to shop for families in need this holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bryan Magaña)

Senior Master Sgt. Martez Banks, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, and Master Sgt. Ruby Contreras, 419th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant, search a toy aisle at a Walmart in Salt Lake City for Christmas wish-list items. A group of reservists from the 419th Fighter Wing volunteered to shop for families in need this holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bryan Magaña)


Volunteers from the 419th Fighter Wing are helping to make Christmas a little bit merrier for Utah reservists and their families.


A group of 419th personnel went shopping in Salt Lake City for their fellow Airmen Dec. 9, collecting wish-list items for 25 families in need. The event is part of a larger “Sub for Santa” program overseen by the Utah National Guard each year to provide holiday gifts for military families. The shopping spree is funded by Goldman Sachs, an investment banking firm that donated $12,000 to Utah reservists and guardsmen.


“This is our way of supporting veterans and their families,” said John Otis, vice president of asset management operations at Goldman Sachs. Otis is also a technical sergeant in the 419th Maintenance Squadron.


“I think this is the sixth or seventh year we’ve done this,” Otis said. “This year, we wanted to expand the opportunity to Air Force reservists. Both Reserve and Guard are local, so it made a lot of sense.”


The volunteers said they're happy to help military families this holiday season.


"Christmas is a time to help families in need," said Master Sgt. Ruby Contreras, first sergeant in the 419th Civil Engineer Squadron. "I'm just honored to give back to people whenever I can, and make sure they get something for Christmas."

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