I've been enjoying my volunteering at the USO at the Columbia, SC airport near where our home base is. Always something to do to help out our transiting military folks as they pass through the airport to and from assignments. It's been really nice to see many families reunited in time for the holidays.
This USO has three wonderful full time ladies that run the place (along with about 150 volunteers), they put their heart and soul into making sure everything possible can be done to support the troops. During the course of the year they put on special events for the military members and their families and at Christmas time they do several amazing parties and concerts for those stationed at nearby Fort Jackson.
Last night I got a chance to volunteer at a family Christmas party at the Fort with an Army brigade that had had a tough year, tragically losing several members to a training accident. The Christmas party was a way to have the families gather and have a special fun time to put the sadness behind them.
Santa Claus was enlisted to visit the children at the party. He arrived on a fire truck.
The kids were delighted to see him and rushed out to greet him.
Inside the building Santa sat in a chair and handed out gifts to the kids as they sat with him.
A few kids weren't quite sure what to make of this jolly, old fellow in the red suit.
Other kids thought it was a blast to meet Santa and tell him their wish list.
Two of the USO ladies even had to get their picture taken with Santa, Katie on the left and Anne Elise on the right.
Once all the children had met Santa and received their gifts, I too wanted to get my picture with Santa as he sat by himself.
Here is my picture with Santa:
Yep, that's "Santa Paul". I never played Santa before and it was a last minute call as the original volunteer who was going to play Santa got sick and couldn't come. So I was able to step in and "save" Christmas.
The USO ladies, Katie and Anne Elise said I did such a great job that they have plans to use me again for another occasion. Something about being shot out of a cannon wearing a ballerina costume...
Here's to wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year wherever your travels have taken you!