Salvation Army Angel Tree children whose families can't afford to put a lot under the tree this year, experienced a winter wonderland full of presents and holiday cheer. With plenty of giggles and smiles, everyone boarded the 7th flight to the North Pole at the Air National Guard's 172nd Airlift Wing Thursday afternoon.
Through a little Christmas magic, and a quick taxied ride around the airlift wing, the aircraft made it to the North Pole in no time. None other than Santa and Mrs. Claus were there to greet the kids. And all you have to do is look at their faces to see the Christmas spirit!
"She was just always hollering, I'm ready to see Santa. I'm ready to see Santa. And now this day has finally come and she is overjoyed," said mom, Patrice Thornton.
The Salvation Army Angel Tree children weren't the only ones over joyed with the opportunity to create an unforgettable Christmas. For the Air Guard, they say this makes their Christmas complete.
"This is absolutely the best night of the year for us. It's just a magical night where we can provide Christmas for a lot of children who might not otherwise get it," explained Cris Crisler, Wing Commander.
For the families, it's priceless.
"Just to be able to see the excitement on his face, [see] him smiling. His eyes lighting up. And you know, they do something for him that I can't do. It's a blessing," said Nikki Porter.
Each child received their one-on-one time Santa and then a brand new bike and helmet donated by some generous local residents.
"Makes me feel good that somebody was good enough to get her what she wanted. Next year we plan on giving back ourselves," Dawayne Conner said.
The event was sponsored by Y101, Brown Bottling Group, the Brain Injury Association and the Salvation Army.
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