Operation Santa Claus
By Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 07, 2012
PORTLAND, Ore., -- More than a dozen members of the 142nd Fighter Wing volunteered their own time on Nov. 30 to help raise money to support local military families in need of extra assistance this holiday season in the Portland area. KPAM radio station, in Portland, Ore., has raised more than $1,000,000 during their Operation Santa Claus event over the last eight years.
The Bob Miller radio show featured several military members during the week-long occasion. They answered phones during the pledge drive and spent time talking on the radio about military life, raising awareness of the challenges that are part of serving in uniform.
The fundraising event helped support military families in the Portland and Vancouver, Wash. region that have fallen on difficult financial times during or after deployment. The goal for this year's event was to raise more than $100,000.
"I'm very proud of our Security Forces volunteers that came in on their off-day to start manning the phones at 4 a.m. and didn't stop until they reached their donation goal," said Paul Fitzgerald, mission support commander for the 142nd Fighter.
The 142nd Security Forces Squadron has been helping with Operation Santa Claus for the past four years and has taken a special pride in representing the 142nd Fighter Wing for this event.
"This in a way is a chance to give back to some of our own," said Master Sgt. Christopher Rich, a flight chief for the 142nd Security Forces Squadron.
Rich said many of those who called in to donate were local area retired military members or family members in the area who have sons and daughters serving in uniform now. He said they received a call-in donation from one Army veteran for $10,000.
"They helped raise over $50,000 in one day, which is absolutely amazing," said Fitzgerald.
Other 142nd Fighter Wing members who volunteered their personal time to help during the pledge drive were; Master Sgt. Jason Schroeder, Tech. Sgt. Shawn Potter, Tech. Sgt. Grant Roper, Staff Sgt. Joseph Cubias, Staff Sgt. Kylan Olsen, Staff Sgt. Sara Wassam, Senior Airmen Lacey Bieker.