Team BLAZE welcomes Santa, celebrates holiday season

  • Published
  • By Airman Davis Donaldson
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Team BLAZE kicked off the holiday season with Santa’s T-1A Jayhawk arrival followed by a tree lighting ceremony Dec. 3 on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

Festivities began at the 14th Flying Training Wing’s Base Operations Center, where Airmen and their families listened to Christmas songs while awaiting the touchdown of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.

After their arrival, Mr. and Mrs. Claus were taxied over to greet the group. The Clauses then led a walking parade toward the BLAZE Chapel for the annual tree lighting festivities.

Capt. Paul Walker, 14th Flying Training Wing chaplain, explained the importance of the gathering.

“It’s a time to spread Christmas cheer and be part of the community,” Walker said. “It is really just about being able to connect together and enjoy this time celebrating the holiday season.”

Airmen and their families were welcomed at the chapel with Christmas tunes from the Caledonia High School choir and Team BLAZE members giving out hot chocolate, cookies, toys and other treats.

As the group was snacking on their treats, Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, thanked the volunteers and talked to those in attendance about the importance of connecting with one another.

“This time of year provides an amazing opportunity for us to invest our time connecting with others,” Weeks said. “I encourage you to invest your time wisely, invest your time with your children and your family, invest your time with your friends and your wingmen.”

Weeks then said she is grateful for the Team BLAZE community and Columbus AFB. She also said to remember the loved ones in deployed environments during the holiday season.

“As we celebrate together, we hold in our hearts the men and women of Team BLAZE who are positioned around the world, contending for freedom and liberty,” Weeks said. “I want to personally thank each and every one of you and your families for the sacrifices that you make, especially those deployed at holiday times.”

Staff Sgt. Jo Jackson, whose husband is deployed, and her son, Desmond, helped light the 2019 Team BLAZE Christmas tree, in honor of the deployed Columbus AFB Airmen.

After the lighting, children were able to get a photo taken with Santa in the Kaye Auditorium.

Team BLAZE also helped the City of Columbus kick off their holiday season by participating in their Christmas Parade Dec. 2. Members of the Columbus AFB Fire Department drove one of their trucks in the parade and were led by Weeks and Chief Master Sgt. Raul Villarreal Jr., 14th FTW command chief.

Other base events coming up include Breakfast with Santa at the Club at 10 a.m. Dec. 14. The event is free and open to all ID card holders. There will also be a Menorah lighting at 4 p.m. Dec. 23, at the Chapel.