WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Many of us have the opportunity to spend the holidays with family. But others are forced to spend it alone like some at Sheppard Air Force Base.
Every year thousands of airmen are training and spend Christmas away from their families for the first time. Some spouses on base are doing something to make Sheppard feel a little more like home.
"We know it's hard, know this training is intense and draining," Chair of the Sheppard Enlisted Spouses Club, Tiffany Kelley said. "So being able to give back is really great. This is my favorite event at every installation I've been at. So I always end up participating."
On the second week of every December, you will find the Sheppard Enlisted Spouses Club packaging cookies for airmen in training that are staying in town for the holiday season. They got help from airmen like Jeff Din.
"A lot of these guys don't get to go home and they're here working hard for us," Din said. "So, ultimately, if we give them some cookies and bring a little bit of the holidays home for them, then that will make it a little bit nicer for them here at Sheppard."
The also got help from the Sheppard Elementary Student Council, who made greeting cards for the outside of the goody bags.
"We just want to make sure these kids know that we are here for them," Kelley said. "And we are here to support them."
The Spouses Club's goal was to have $26,000 cookies donated. That number was doubled.
"Being able to see all the spouses come together and just link arms with base personnel and really just get out there in the community, it really brings teamwork," Kelley said. "And we have such a large base of airmen here. It really makes them feel connected."
Why was it so important for Din to participate?
"We really are a family here at Sheppard," Din said. "Especially pilot training. You rely on these guys with your life day-in-day-out."
Kelley's message to the Airmen in Training is to hang in there and know they have the support of team Sheppard. Sheppard Elementary wants to wish them all Happy Holidays and adds go Jets!
Kelley said they will do this cookie drive again next year and hope to exceed the 52,000 cookies donated this year.
There were so many cookies donated this year that everyone on team Sheppard will get a goodie bag. Any leftovers will be donated to Faith Mission and Faith Refuge.