NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.—The Nellis Air Force Base chapel basement was filled with the holiday spirit on Dec. 15, as Nellis and Creech Airmen joined hands with the Nellis Area Spouse’s Club and the local community to sort and wrap holiday goodies for first-term Airmen living in the dormitories.
The holiday cookie drive is an annual base-wide event coordinated entirely by volunteers.
This year’s cookie drive received more than 15,000 baked goods from the base populace, according to Master Sgt. Susan Erdrich, 66th Rescue Squadron first sergeant and project coordinator.
“This was a huge group effort across the base, we put some informational flyers out there through the Airman and Family Readiness Center spouses’ network for anybody who wanted to donate and participate,” said Erdrich. “We also put out a request for assistance and volunteers to help with the packaging and distribution through the active duty networks on base.”
Also, contributing to the cookie drive was the Nellis Commissary. They donated hundreds of cookies, resealable plastic bags and plates for all the Airmen. Local elementary schools contributed by making holiday greeting cards for all the dorm residents.
“It literally took hundreds of people to get the cookies and supplies here to take care of our Airmen to bring them holiday cheer,” Erdrich said.
On Friday morning, in conjunction with a base-wide quarterly dormitory room inspection, squadron first sergeants took the opportunity to pick up the baked goods for distribution to each of the rooms.
Plates of cookies were distributed to the more than 970 first-term Airmen who live in the dormitories. The overall goal was to provide one dozen cookies and a holiday greeting card to each of the residents.
“Receiving the cookies today was unexpected and made me happy,” said Airman 1st Class Angel Fernandez-Rosario, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Tomahawk Aircraft Maintenance Unit auxiliary power generation apprentice. “I saw the kids drew a picture and put a message inside the card [reading] ‘Thank you for your service,’ I was pretty happy, since I’m not going home for the holidays.”
For dorm residents living away from home for the first time, the cookies were a pleasant reminder that the Nellis community is their home away from home.
“The cookies made me feel thankful because they were homemade with the little note attached,” said Airman 1st Class Nicole Stickel, 99th Medical Surgical Squadron diagnostic imaging technician.
“Today, is an opportunity for [the base] and leadership to say thank you,” said Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Drinkard, 57th Wing command chief. “[The cookie drive] is a small gesture to say thank you for everything our Airmen have done all year, regardless of what wing or organization [they are assigned to], everyone pitches into the mission, it’s a family atmosphere here and it’s a reflection of the hard work they have done.”
The drive provided cookies not just for dorm residents, but also for Airmen working late shifts around Nellis and Creech to include the command post, fire station, flight line and security forces work centers.