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December 13, 2013

Cookie drive makes statement — ‘We care’

Janna Willingham, left, spouse of Lt. Col. Paul Willingham, 21st Fighter Squadron commander, and Susanne Mann, spouse of Lt. Col. Shamsher Mann, 62nd Fighter Squadron commander, package cookies for dorm residents Dec. 5 during the Airman Cookie Drive held at Club Five Six. Willingham and Mann organized the event to collect, sort and package cookies for Airmen living in the dorms.

A decades-long tradition brought a little taste of home during the holidays to Airmen living in the dorms last week. Luke Air Force Base supporters collected and packaged cookies Dec. 5 for first sergeants to deliver to dorm residents.

“The cookie drive is the community coming together to support our Airmen on base who may not have families around during the holidays,” said Susanne Mann, 62nd Fighter Squadron commander’s spouse and event organizer. “We give each Airman a dozen cookies.”

The event is made possible by donors who support the event by providing more than 9,500 cookies for single Airmen.

“Once the donors drop off the cookies, our volunteers separate them into bags containing 12 cookies each,” said Janna Willingham, 21st Fighter Squadron commander’s spouse. “Once they are bagged, the first sergeants pick them up and deliver them to Airmen in the dorms.”

Delivering the 775 dozen cookies makes an important statement, according to the first sergeants.

“The first sergeants get the privilege of delivering the cookies to the rooms of all the dorm residents,” said Master Sgt. Erik Bensen, 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant. “Our job is people. Delivering cookies is a small token that lets them know the community cares about them. For many first sergeants, these types of activities represent the fun part of the job.”

The annual event brings holiday joy not just to the Airmen, but also to the volunteers.

“We love having the opportunity to give to those who are serving our country,” Mann said. “We hope they know we are sincerely grateful for everything they do.”




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