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343rd RS booster club provides winter gear for kids

Santa passes out gifts to children at a holiday party sponsored by the Reconnaissance Crew's Booster Club in Dec. 9, 2017, in Bellevue, Nebraska. This was the 44th annual party the RCBC has put on. The event serves as a way for the service members of Offutt Air Force Base to give back to the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Santa passes out gifts to children at a holiday party sponsored by the Reconnaissance Crew's Booster Club in Dec. 9, 2017, in Bellevue, Nebraska. This was the 44th annual party the RCBC has put on. The event serves as a way for the service members of Offutt Air Force Base to give back to the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Santa and U.S. Air Force Captain Mary, 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron, passes out gifts to children at a holiday party sponsored by the Reconnaissance Crew's Booster Club in Dec. 9, 2017, in Bellevue, Nebraska. 91 children participated in the 44th annual RCBC holiday party. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Santa and U.S. Air Force Captain Mary, 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron, passes out gifts to children at a holiday party sponsored by the Reconnaissance Crew's Booster Club in Dec. 9, 2017, in Bellevue, Nebraska. 91 children participated in the 44th annual RCBC holiday party. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska --

Santa delivered early Christmas presents to 91 children during the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron Booster Club’s 44th annual holiday party Dec. 9, 2017, at the Pointe in Rising View housing area of Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

In keeping with tradition, Airmen celebrated the true spirit of the holidays by gathering toys and funds to help children in need of winter clothing.

The day began with chaperons from the booster club picking up children and taking them to the Galvin Road Shopko to purchase coats, boots, shoes and more. These winter clothes may be the only warm clothing the children will receive this season.

“This year we had 91 participate,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Ryan, 343rd RS RC-135 pilot and chairman of the booster club. “We were able to provide for them things they might otherwise not have.”

After shopping for winter clothes, the children and their chaperones gathered for breakfast, crafts and a magic show at The Point at Rising View. Jeff Quinn, magician, entertained the group with a wide array of baffling tricks and comedy.

During the midst of the show, Santa’s sleigh arrived on the roof. The jolly man surprised the children and proceeded to pass out gifts that had been purchased by way of an “Angel Tree,” which volunteers all across base contributed to.

“I think it’s just great that the Bellevue and Omaha community helps and supports the base so much,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Mary, 343rd RS electronic warfare officer and vice chairman for the booster club. “I enjoy that we are able to give back to the community, and especially to people who struggle to provide the warm clothes or a gift for Christmas. I think it’s important that we support the community that supports us when we can.”

More than 150 people contributed to the successful event. From volunteers and the Combined Federal Campaign to organizations such as the 343rd RS’s booster club, Sarpy County Head Start, Bellevue Public Schools and the Galvin Road Shopko, the call to serve was answered again and in the process made a difference in many children’s lives.

“Having my own child definitely sensitizes me to the needs of kids,” said Ryan. “They’re not able to provide for themselves, and if their family struggles to make ends meet I’m glad that we can help out.”