AFROTC joins holiday program

October 31, 2007

by Justin Phillips

The Air Force ROTC cadet wing is collaborating with Circle K and the Arnold Air Society in a holiday program called Operation Christmas Child which will provide Christmas gifts to underprivileged children outside of the United States.

Jay Kawecki, a senior Air Force ROTC cadet and an electrical engineering major, said the program is a positive way for the Air Force ROTC and the contributing organizations to help the less fortunate.

“We’re trying to assist Circle K by also contributing items for the kids overseas,” Kawecki said.

“We really want other organizations to take notice and help contribute as well.”

The Air Force ROTC’s assistance immediately made a difference in the program’s progression, Kawecki said.

“Ever since we started participating in this project, we have tripled the total output of holiday gifts,” Kawecki said in reference to Circle K’s initial output before the Air Force ROTC and Arnold Air Society became involved.

He said the gifts are currently being packaged and are scheduled to be sent to their recipients during the first week of November.

“The basic idea of what we’re doing is we’re taking shoe boxes and filling them with the gifts we decide to send each child,” Kawecki also said.

“Some of the gifts will be toiletries, like toothbrushes and things like that.”

The shoe boxes will have an added personal touch for each recipient, Kawecki said.

“We’re going to put a letter in each box,” Kawecki said.

“The letter will be something personal from one of the cadets to one of the children.”

Kawecki said even though the Air Force ROTC is playing a major part in the continued success of the Operation Christmas Child program, the holiday contributions will reflect nothing of Air Force ROTC’s military background.

“We’re making sure not to send the children any kind of toys that deal with the military,” Kawecki said.
“No toy guns or plastic army knives or anything of that nature.”

Lt. Col. Daniel Simonsen, the Commander of the Air Force ROTC 305 at Tech, said the Air Force ROTC’s involvement in the holiday program is completely in the hands of the cadets.

“I personally do not have a great deal to do with the program,” Simonsen said.
“The whole thing is being handled by the cadet wing of the Air Force ROTC.”

Beth Mullins, a senior Air Force ROTC cadet and family and child studies major, is one of the many Air Force ROTC cadets finding time to contribute to the holiday program.

Mullins said the gifts are not intended to be expensive investments for the individuals that are donating them.

“The types of items that we plan to send off are hygienic items mostly,” Mullins said.
“Also things like crayons and markers will be included in the gift boxes too. Basically just inexpensive gifts are going to be included.”

Mullins said the cadets have all waited since the last year when they sent off the Christmas gifts for responses from the children that received them.

“I haven’t heard back from the child I sent gifts to yet,” Mullins said.
“But it’s also not Christmas yet so we’re still hoping to hear from them.”