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First Sergeants deliver gifts to Yokota's angels
Presents wait to be picked up and delivered to deserving children by first sergeants throughout the wing, Dec. 19, 2012, at the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Yokota Air Base, Japan. More than 60 children at Yokota received gifts from anonymous donors on Christmas through the First Sergeants' Council's Angel Tree program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides)
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First Sergeants deliver gifts to Yokota's angels

Posted 12/28/2012   Updated 12/28/2012 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

12/28/2012 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- 'Tis the season for giving to those in need, and the First Sergeants' Council is doing just that throughout Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Sixty-three children, otherwise known as angels, received gifts this Christmas courtesy of anonymous donors in the Yokota community.

"Everyone has a time when they need a little extra help," said Master Sgt. Shanti Leiker, Angel Tree coordinator. "The angel tree program allows us to not only help, but also add a little more brightness to deserving children in the community."

Every year, first sergeants throughout the wing collect names and ages of children who meet specific criteria, come from families with parents E-6 and below and with a single income. Each child is then assigned a number, to keep their identity anonymous, and a tag is made to hang on the Angel Tree.

Once hung on the tree, members from the community can choose their angel. For some who choose an angel this experience is more than buying a gift.

"During the holidays, we sometimes become so busy with parties, shopping, or other events that we forget many people do not have the luxury of all the blessings many of us enjoy," said Capt. Jenna Mirandette, an Angel Tree donor. "Growing up, we were always taught to give to others, and the rewards of giving."

Part of a first sergeant's primary duties revolves around the morale and welfare of the Airmen in their organization. While the spirit of giving prompts extra effort around Christmas time, the first sergeants at Yokota strive to meet the needs of their Airmen year-round.

"People are our mission," said Master Sgt. Joshua Hodgin, 374th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant. "Bringing cheer to their families is just part of what we do."

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