By Charles J. Haymond, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 04, 2018
Members of the local community fill gift bags at the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department Dec. 4, 2018. The bags are part of Operation Holiday Cheer, an annual event sponsored by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, where gift bags are assembled for Offutt Air Force Base dormitory residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by L. Cunningham)
Shannon Manion, wife of Col. Mike Manion 55th Wing Commander, holds up Christmas card at the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department Dec. 4, 2018. The cards, made by students of Bellevue Public Schools, were added to Operation Holiday Cheer gift bags for Offutt Air Force Base dormitory residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by L. Cunningham)
181204-F-IT794-1015 – Col. Sherri LeVan, 55th Wing vice commander, fills gift bags alongside members of the community at the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department Dec. 6, 2018, as part as Operation Holiday Cheer. The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce started the program in 2003. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake)
Boxes stand ready for delivery at the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department Dec. 4, 2018. The boxes are full of Operation Holiday Cheer gift bags for Offutt Air Force Base dormitory residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake)
Volunteers from the Bellevue-Offutt community gathered together to assemble gift bags Dec. 6 at the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department as part of Operation Holiday Cheer.
The bags, filled with an assortment of food, cards and more, are delivered to service members living in Offutt’s dormitories.
The event was founded by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce in 2003 and has grown significantly over the years. Local businesses donate all of the contents used to fill the bags.
More than 30 volunteers worked together in an assembly line to fill approximately 500 bags.
“Bellevue is a very patriotic community,” said Lisa Wilson, Bellevue Chamber of Commerce vice president of membership and development. “Our staff and members want to do something to make the holidays a little brighter for those who are away from home during the holidays.”
Scattered among the local community volunteers were a handful of Offutt leadership.
“The community here is so wonderful,” said Col. Sherrie LaVan, 55th Wing vice commander. “Year after year, people help out with this event and it is always for the benefit of our young service members. We couldn’t do what we do at Offutt without the community support. The fact that they think about our dorm residents this time of year is extremely generous.”
Operation Holiday Cheer is only one example of the annual Bellevue Chamber of Commerce events that benefit Team Offutt. To get involved with their program, contact Lisa Wilson at Lisa@bellevuenebraska.com.
Their next event is the Bellevue Offutt Rising Professional's Ugly Holiday Sweater Party Dec. 7 at Rising View’s The Pointe.