Airman 1st Class Bliss Walker, 22nd Security Forces Squadron entry controller, explains the theme of the annual McConnell Children's Holiday Party, “The Polar Express,” to a child, Dec. 1, 2012, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The event also included a Hearts’ Apart holiday breakfast for spouses and families of deployed Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales)
Team McConnell families participate in the annual Children's Holiday Party Dec. 1, 2012, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. During the event, children were able to experience a variety of activates ranging from building graham cracker trains to visiting with Santa Claus. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales)
by Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
12/6/2012 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan., -- More than 800 Team McConnell members experienced the "magic and wonder" of the holidays during the annual Children's Holiday Party, Dec. 1, 2012.
The event was hosted by the 22nd Operations Group with support from base helping-agencies.
"I think the attendees loved it," said 1st Lt. Ty Brackin, 22nd Operations Support Squadron Operations Intelligence officer in charge. "I saw kids smiling, parents laughing and our awesome volunteers having a blast - it seemed to me that everyone was happy they were there!"
Brackin described the importance of the event to McConnell.
"These types of events also allow us to remind the entire McConnell team that we are about more than showing up, executing the mission and going home," said Brackin. "Our leadership is invested in our personal lives, and events like this help remind our folks that they are more than just another Airmen - they are family."
McConnell's mission is to support air-to-air refueling anywhere, anytime, which requires constant deployments. Therefore, Brackin and the committee included a Hearts' Apart holiday breakfast for spouses and families of those deployed Airmen.
"The children's holiday party was an opportunity for the base to show their appreciation to deployed families by providing a breakfast, a morning of fun and a chance to see Santa in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season," said Mary Reece, 22nd Force Support Squadron Airmen Family and Readiness Center Director. "We were excited to be a part of this annual event!"
The theme of this year's event was "The Polar Express," a Christmas story about a train leading children to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. The event incorporated the idea by leading children on a ride through arts and crafts, games, inflatables and a visit with Santa Claus.
One of the children in attendance "couldn't be happier" with the entertainment provided."
"My favorite part of this is that they have inflatables and they are bouncy," said the son of Lt. Col. William Stowe, 22nd Operation Group deputy commander.
The Children's Holiday Party is one of many at the base for Hearts Apart, and the entire McConnell family. Several others events are planned for the near future. For more information on events, Team McConnell members can visit: www.facebook.com/thebuzzmcconnell and refuelmcconnell.com