193rd SOW Airmen help deliver holiday cheer
By Staff Sgt. Tony Harp, 193rd Special Operations Wing
/ Published December 19, 2019
MIDDLETOWN, Pa. --
Airmen from the 193rd Special Operations Wing teamed up with Soldiers from the Pennsylvania National Guard to support the 30th Annual Holiday Wish Program Dec. 11, 2019, at the Keystone Building in Harrisburg.
The Holiday Wish Program is a volunteer, donation-based program designed to provide holiday gifts to families and seniors across the commonwealth.
More than 25 Airmen from the 193rd SOW assisted with the distribution of gifts for the program this year. 1st Lt. Edward Maurice, an intelligence officer with the 193rd SOW, discussed his experience spending the day volunteering for the program.
“In our day-to-day grind it actually allowed me to get out and give something back to the local community,” said Maurice. “I’m always looking for possible charity events that I can do, I can participate in, especially giving back to the state of Pennsylvania. This one fit the bill, it was awesome, it was really fun.”
Military members arrived at the Keystone Building in the morning and assisted with the gift donations as they arrived, helping to organize them according to their final destination. The donations were organized to be distributed to 12 different counties, to include providing gifts to seniors and military families. The gifts were then loaded onto trucks and transported by Guard members to county assistance offices across the state to be distributed out to the sponsors at a later time.
This year’s event provided gifts to more than 900 people, including more than 200 families and 100 seniors across Pennsylvania. Families and seniors sponsored by the Holiday Wish Program were identified by case workers at county assistant offices across the commonwealth.
Governor Tom Wolf spoke at the ceremony for the program and discussed this year’s contributions.
“The generosity of the commonwealth’s employees will provide nearly 1,000 people with at least one gift this year,” said Wolf.
“This is the thirtieth year the employees of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have been doing this, making sure that kids all around Pennsylvania have something, at least one gift to look forward to on Christmas day,” said Wolf. “Think what that means for those kids. That’s a thousand kids that will wake up on Christmas day and have something to look forward to, and that’s because of you.”
Brig. Gen. Mark D. McCormack, Deputy Commanding General of Support for the 28th Infantry Division, also spoke at the event on behalf of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and discussed the military’s mission within the program.
“The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has been involved in the distribution end of this great project for the last ten years,” said McCormack. “Of all the missions that we do here in the commonwealth, I can say without a doubt, this is the one we look forward to the most and probably take the greatest pride in.”