Saber family sponsor Airmen this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Elisabeth Gelhar
  • 178th Wing

SPRINGFIELD-BECKLEY AIR GUARD STATION, OH -- The 178th Wing Saber family stepped up for sixth year in a row, ensuring Airmen in need receive gifts for their children thanks to the Giving Tree program, hosted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Springfield-Beckley Air National Guard Base, Ohio.

Staff Sgt. Briana Staples, an administrative assistant with the 178th Wing helped with the program this year.

“The concept is really inspiring,” said Staples. “It gives Airmen the chance to enjoy the holidays because of everyone else. To really encourage people to uplift others and take care of families for Christmas.”

Airmen can sponsor fellow service members' children to receive holiday gifts from givers within the wing. The volunteers fill out a tag and hang it on a tree located at the Airman and Family Readiness Center for each sponsored child. The tag includes each child’s age, clothing sizes, and interests. A gift giver can select a tag and donate gifts to that child for the holidays.

“We keep it as anonymous as possible by giving each tag a code,” said Jane Esprit, 178th Wing AFRC Program Manager. “The sponsor knows who they are sponsoring, but we do not know who those gifts are going to.”

The Giving Tree has occurred annually here since 2016. Airman have come together, sponsoring and gifting over 117 military members’ children.

“This is a wonderful way to show appreciation and help out the Airmen,” said Master Sgt. (Ret.) Jeannette Anderson, lead AFRC volunteer, 178th Wing.

Currently all children have been sponsored this year but Esprit said she knows there is a greater need in the community. Due to COVID-19 things have continued to be very tough for a lot of Airman. She encourages sponsors to nominate wingmen to help make a difference this holiday season. She said there are several gift givers waiting for additional children to be sponsored.

“The Giving Tree support truly showcases the 178th Wing’s family values,” said Chief Master Sgt. Scott Ross, 178th Wing Command Chief. “The holidays are special and our Saber family steps up year after year to ensure our Airmen in need get the assistance they need, making their own family holiday a special one.”