Live holiday music, stuffed stockings and brunch brought about 500 Soldiers, staff and family members to the McChord Field Collocated Club to celebrate the Warrior Transition Battalion’s annual holiday party Dec. 16.
The family-friendly event brought in kids and spouses to join in the festivities.
“It’s the first time we had the whole family together, and I wanted to give my wife the experience of going to a military Christmas party,” said Sgt. Joshua Doty, a Warrior with Charlie Company who brought his wife, Lalyn, and children Andrea, 2, and Alex, 3, to the get-together.
His kids joined in the crowd who met Santa and his elf. Hunter Cole, 3, also met with Santa to get some candy and reassure him that he would set out plenty of cookies and milk.
Older participants lined up to get stockings stuffed with donated items from gift cards to DVDs to toys— an annual tradition carried out by 35 volunteers with Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors. Contributions for the gifts came from schools, companies, and other non-profit organizations.
“It’s a real grass-roots community effort,” said Janice Buckley, founder and president of Heartbeat. The organization also sponsored families for Christmas and provided Christmas dinner to single Soldiers here.
“The Warriors are the driving force for everything, the courage and the can-do attitude they have,” said Buckley. “How can we do anything less when these guys who are so badly injured keep going forward?”
Those sentiments of serving the Soldiers who serve their country also drove Wanda Motonaga to volunteer at the event as part of Soldiers Angels, which donated towards paying for the brunch.
Motonaga said she gives to Soldiers “because I’m not brave enough to be a Soldier… they keep me and my grandkids free, and I can’t pay them back for what they do for us.”
In addition, American Hero Quilts, the 56th Army Band, and the Soldier and Family Assistance Center also supported the party.