by Tech. Sgt. Jared Marquis
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
12/8/2015 - THULE AIR BASE, Greenland -- Holidays
can be a difficult time for the Airmen stationed 750 miles north of the
Arctic Circle. They are separated from family and have limited
resources with which to celebrate. While they do have a tight knit
community to depend on, a little help can go a long way. This year's
help came in the form of 50 care packages courtesy of Northview School
in Peru, Illinois.
The 821st Air Base Group leadership team received a request in early
September from the elementary school asking if the kids could send the
Airmen care packages for the holidays, said Master Sgt. James Morgan,
821st ABG first sergeant.
"I called them back that day and told them we would be grateful for the packages," said Morgan.
Fast forward a couple months and the first half of the care packages
arrived Nov. 19, the week before Thanksgiving. Since they only get a
weekly rotator flight to Thule, they had to wait for the second half to
show up, and were grateful for the supplies.
"The kids did a phenomenal job with the boxes," said Morgan, who set up
his office like a shopping center with the supplies and gave Airmen the
opportunity to pick out what they wanted.
The boxes included baking supplies, cold weather supplies, personal care
products and more. Some of the most popular items were the cake mixes
and other baking supplies. These are the types of items the Airmen can't
get at Thule.
"Our Base Exchange carries a lot of snack foods, but not much in the way
of baking supplies," said Morgan. "The Airmen have kitchens in their
room, so everyone benefited from the baking supplies. Those who like to
bake were able to and shared with those who don't."
"These children may not comprehend what it means to receive something as
simple as a box of cake mix, but to us it turns a cold winter day with
no sunlight into a warm tangible holiday celebration," said Tech. Sgt.
Monique Wright, 821st ABG chief of safety. "The children also wrote us
letters; thanking us for our service and having curious minds, asked
several questions. As I read these letters tears welled up in my eyes
and I thought to myself how wonderful for these children to give to
complete strangers without a second thought."
To say thank you for the supplies, the Airmen participated in a Skype
call with the school children Dec. 2. Morgan said the entire school
packed into the auditorium while nearly 100 Thule Airmen showed up for
"That shows the appreciation," said Morgan. "We only have about 160
Airmen here and the only ones who didn't participate in the call were
those who were working, or on a mid-shift."
During the Skype call, Col. Stuart Pettis, 821st ABG commander, thanked
the children for the care packages and then gave the kids the
opportunity to ask the Airmen some questions.
"He called up a different Airman each time to answer the kid's questions," said Morgan.
The kids asked questions about the weather, the radar and if the Airmen
had seen Santa (the right answer, according to the teachers, is "you
haven't seen Santa, but Santa is watching them!")
The call lasted about thirty minutes and ended with the children singing God Bless America and We Wish you a Merry Christmas.
"It was phenomenal for the Airmen to be able to share their gratitude
with the kids," said Morgan. "It really was an awesome experience."