Despite the freezing temperatures and pouring rain, Families arrived in anticipation of holiday cheer and Santa Claus’ arrival at the Main Post Chapel, or MPC’s Holiday Lighting celebration Dec. 5, making it a well-attended event. According to Fred Robinson, installation director of religious education, the set-up moved indoors this year due to the weather.
Holiday goodies and children’s activities “decked the halls” of the Main Post Chapel. The majority of the event took place inside the MPC’s Activity Room. Child-friendly arts and crafts included cookie decorating, nativity scene creations and letters to Santa.
“[The] event does two things; it brings the community together and lets others know of the joy of Christmas,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Bruce Duty, chaplain resource manager.
While Christmas was widely represented, MPC recognized the celebration of Hanukah with a large menorah during the lighting ceremony. The evening marked the final night of the Jewish holiday, meaning the menorah could stay lit. This was a rare occurrence during the annual lighting.
Besides the menorah, the nativity in front of the MPC building, the tree on the corner of Hatfield Street and Smith Avenue and the star located on Fort Huachuca’s Star Hill brightened the installation.
Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Lemelin, Company B, 2-13th Aviation Regiment, and Family held the honor of lighting all four holiday symbols. Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Ken Godfrey explained Lemelin would be deploying to South Korea after the holidays, making the Family’s participation something special to share.
After Godfrey offered a prayer at the ceremony, Col. Jeff Jennings, deputy commandant of training, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence welcomed guests stating as the Lemelin Family turned on the lights, everyone should abandon their commercial and materialistic thoughts on the holidays.
“As we flip that switch … flip your proverbial switch, use this time to reconnect, to talk to your friends, to tell each other how much you love each other and be thankful, that’s what this season is about,” Jennings said.
After the lighting ceremony, Santa Claus, played by Rodger Miller, MPC catholic religious education coordinator, arrived by fire truck to listen children’s Christmas lists.
The Holiday Lighting was a team effort which included the partnership of religious organizations within the MPC, the Military Intelligence Corps Band, Directorate of Plans, Training Mobilization and Security, Directorate of Emergency Services and Directorate of Public Works.