Holiday celebration draws children to the Air Guard

By 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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Staff Sgt. Melissa Longhofer, an orderly room administrator with the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, plays bingo with her daughter during the 123rd Airlift Wing’s family holiday party at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 2, 2012. The annual event also offered snacks and prizes for the more than 85 children who participated. (Kentucky Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Maxwell Rechel)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Christmas came a little early this year for the children of Kentucky Air National Guard members when Santa stopped by the 123rd Airlift Wing for the unit’s family holiday celebration Dec. 2.

More than 85 boys and girls turned out for the annual party, which provided each youngster with the opportunity to pose for a picture with Santa and take home a sack full of presents donated by area businesses, said Dave Rooney, program manager for the wing’s Airman and Family Readiness Group.

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The daughter and son of Senior Airman Jose Lopez Castro, a crew chief for the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, talk with Santa Claus during the 123rd Airlift Wing’s family holiday party at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 2, 2012. The annual event also offered snacks and prizes for the more than 85 children who participated. (Kentucky Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Maxwell Rechel)

“I believe it was probably our best children’s Christmas party yet,” Rooney said. “This is my fifth one, and it seems to get bigger year after year after year.”

Rooney expressed his gratitude to the more than 20 volunteers who operated games, painted faces and handed out door prizes during the celebration.

“A big thanks to Ms. Sharon Williams, our top volunteer, for a lot of the planning, and to our key volunteer groups, who were instrumental in the party’s success,” he said. “Their contributions were huge.”

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The son of Staff Sgt. James Edington, a crew chief in the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, plays a game during the 123rd Airlift Wing’s family holiday party at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Dec. 2, 2012. The annual event also offered snacks and prizes for the more than 85 children who participated. (Kentucky Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Maxwell Rechel)

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