The Santas-in-Blue program made its first stop of the year at the San Xavier Mission School, Dec. 10. More than 40 D-M Airmen joined Santa in passing out Christmas gifts to several hundred children.
This year the program will be visiting three schools and passing out nearly 2,100 gifts to over 1,000 students.
“When you see those kids’ faces light up that makes all the work worth it,” said Tech. Sgt. David Manso, Santas-in-Blue head program coordinator.
The Santas-In-Blue program began in 1965 when Airmen, from the now deactivated 571st Strategic Missile Squadron, decided to collect toys as gifts for the needy Native American children who lived near the missile silos south of Tucson.
Over the years, the program has grown and now helps children in all 12 districts of the Tohono O’Odham Indian Reservation. Today participation is base-wide and includes the enlisted and officer’s spouses clubs.
“I really love this program and it’s a great way to give back to the community, especially when they show us so much love,” said Tech. Sgt. Elion Poteat, Santas-in-Blue volunteer.
The goal of the program is to continue enhancing the relationship between D-M Airmen and the surrounding community.
“This is one way I can contribute something beneficial to society and brig smiles to children’s faces,” Manso said.