Contracting workers help families through annual Salvation Army project

  • Published
  • By Lanorris Askew
  • 78th ABW/PA
For the past 20 years, Robins' Contracting Directorate workforce has helped make Christmas morning a little merrier for hundreds of less fortunate families in Middle Georgia through its participation in the annual Salvation Army Christmas project.

This year the collaborative effort, which allows contracting to test its creativity by decorating teddy bears and Christmas stockings provided by The Salvation Army, netted an impressive 200 bears and 210 stockings, which were presented in a ceremony Dec. 5.

Capt. Jennifer Queener, Salvation Army Corps officer who accepted the gifts on behalf of the Salvation Army, said with the help of Robins they will be able to help about 300 families this year.

"When I first got here last year and heard about this project I was overjoyed because what it means is it will be a little easier to get our jobs done because there will be more toys and bears for us to give out that we don't have to purchase," said Captain Queener. "But the most important thing is that these children will have a better quality Christmas."

Patsy Reeves, director of the Contracting Directorate, called the event a self-fulfilling effort that just seems to takeoff once it is announced at the end of the year contracting picnic and said the workers are all glad to help.

"It is so gratifying," she said. "I think we are in a time when the activity level and the pace of life is very demanding and intense. To see people take time out of their busy schedules and put forth the kind of effort that is required for the bears and stockings we see today, it really restores your faith in people and the goodness in the hearts of people to give to others during this time of the year."

According to Mrs. Reeves, this year members of the contracting workforce went out and solicited participation from people in other career fields.

One of the award winners was a group of nine people from the 78th Plans and Programs office who joined together to produce an entry.

"Again, it's people trying to help other people in the community who need it this time of year," Mrs. Reeves said.

Just for fun, the directorate uses awards to recognize some of the most best dressed bears and filled stockings. This year's judge was Pam Atkinson, wife of Brig. Gen. Mark Atkinson, 402nd Maintenance Wing commander.

Bonnie Sturdivant, an item manager in the 560th Aircraft Sustainment Group, who took home the title of "Best Dressed Boy Bear," said it was a pleasure to be able to participate in the program this year.

"I enjoy knowing that there will be joyous faces on Christmas morning," she said. "It was a really fun project to do."

Captain Queener said the additional support is great.

"It's been exhilarating knowing that this is coming each year because we know that this is a sure thing. We know we can count on the base to get this done."