SJAFB's Angel Tree program brings hope to needy children
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 23, 2013 10:53 PM
This photo of 4th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeannie Leavitt picking the first "angel" off the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Angel Tree was provided by the 4th Public Affairs Office.
4th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeannie Leavitt might have been the first to pull an angel off the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base "Angel Tree," but organizers of the program designed to ensure needy military children have a Christmas morning they might not otherwise get to experience, hope hundreds more will follow in the footsteps of their leader.
The base's annual Angel Tree was unveiled Thursday and Leavitt said she hopes the holiday spirit will inspire the men and women under her command -- and those with access to the base -- to give back a little in the coming weeks.
"In the Air Force, and at Seymour Johnson, we take care of our wingman year-round, but with the help of the Angel Tree program, it makes it that much easier for us to embrace generosity and the spirit of giving," she said. "Airmen are putting in hard work to support this awesome program so those who need a little extra joy during the holiday season receive it. I salute their effort and kindness."
It starts with need -- with someone submitting the name of a child to those in charge of the program.
Their first names are then placed on individual ornaments or angels -- along with a Christmas wish list -- and those angels are placed on the tree, located inside the Base Exchange.
Those with access to the facility can, for the next several weeks, take an angel from the tree and purchase the items.
Once their shopping is complete, they simply drop off the items -- unwrapped and with the angel attached to them -- in a box next to the tree.
Second Lt. Coryn Wilson, the Angel Tree Program coordinator, said all donors remain anonymous, "so the Angel Tree program really is a selfless act of kindness."
The donation period will run until Dec. 13, after which, the gifts will be wrapped and distributed by Seymour Johnson personnel.