Global Vikings brighten holidays at Vet's home

  • Published
  • By Capt. William-Joseph Mojica
  • 9334th Airlift Wing

During the holiday season, opportunities to spread cheer are more than abundant. When shopping at many stores across the nation, bells ring as people drop spare change into a small, red kettle. Toys-for-tots boxes are spotted and filled with gifts of different shapes and sizes, each which will soon brighten a child's holiday. Other wrapped toys are placed underneath the angel tree. Numerous random acts of kindness can be seen all around because it is that time of year when people desire to serve and assist others.

With the military being an all-volunteer force, it comes to no surprise that when an opportunity arrives to spread some holiday cheer with the Adopt-A-Vet program, the men and women of the 934th Airlift Wing spring to the occasion. For more than 11 years, the 934th Airlift Wing has partnered with the Minneapolis Veterans Home during the holiday season and each year the event draws more people in, getting bigger and bigger. The program helps to remind veteran residents that they remain in our hearts and their service goes unforgotten. 

“When I say that the 934th is one spectacular supporter of our home, you should see the faces light up,” said Sandy Larson, Minneapolis Veterans Home public affairs director. “It’s Veterans serving Veterans and it should come as no surprise that the 934th just stands up and really comes through for us.”

This year, planning for the holiday Adopt-A-Vet program began prior to the October Unit Training Assembly when Senior Master Sgt. Andy Regal notified wing members of the event. Reservists could then express interest and sign-up to support the program. Prior to the November UTA, members who signed up were matched with a veteran and a corresponding wish-list of desired gifts. The member then had until the beginning of December to turn their gifts in, wrapped, labeled, and with a greeting card addressed to their assigned veteran.

Hundreds of gifts were donated by members of the 934th. Regal collected all of the gifts and with the assistance of a few volunteers, delivered the gifts to the Minneapolis Veterans Home in time for their holiday party. “December 23rd is going to be our holiday party so family members, guests, staff, we all spend that morning enjoying some holiday cheer together and it’s kind of a big deal,” said Larson. “It’s nothing but holiday cheer and this certainly adds to it. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We’re very appreciative!”