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PRANG honors Three Kings Tradition in Local Community event

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Eliezer Soto
  • 156th Wing

LOIZA, Puerto Rico -- As part of a yearly initiative that started in 1976, the 156th Wing Chiefs Council, Puerto Rico Air National Guard, donated and distributed gifts, provided entertainment and snacks for 250 children during the eve of Three Kings Day in an event called ‘Fiesta Víspera de Reyes’ at the Piñones community in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Jan. 5, 2024.

For 48 consecutive years, the PRANG has honored a Puerto Rican tradition, Three Kings Day, by impacting the Piñones community through a yearly event where the 156th Wing Chiefs Council and U.S. Airmen partnered with local non-profit organizations to impact hundreds of children with ages ranging from newborn to 12-years-old, during the eve of Three Kings Day.

“Every year, in September, the 156th Wing Chiefs Council starts recollecting donated toys in the wing, and on Jan. 5 of the following year, we distribute them during ‘Fiesta Víspera de Reyes’ to children in the Piñones community who come from families with limited resources,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Orlando Soto, the 156th Wing command chief. “I am proud of our organization for adopting this event as a commitment to the community year after year.”

For U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Neil Larregui, the PRANG state command chief, who has participated in the event since early in his military career, the joy of the children in the community is the most important aspect of the event.

“⁠I have had the opportunity to participate in this event for 29 years, and I feel amazing every time I participate by bringing happiness to the community, especially the children,” said Larregui. “As a PRANG member, I hope we continue to carry this tradition for future generations.”

Virginia Carrasquillo-Clemente, one of the event organizers for the past eight years, says she is motivated every year by the value and impact that ‘Fiesta Víspera de Reyes’ has for families in honoring a local holiday tradition.

“Since I was able to participate in this event as a little girl, as an adult, I can grasp the huge impact and value it has in the community and how it supports carrying on Three Kings Day as a local family tradition,” said Carrasquillo-Clemente.

For Retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Juan C. Diaz, a former PRANG Airman, the event contributes enormously to the community by bringing people together, a reason that maintains his commitment beyond his retirement from service.

“I retired a few months ago, and I am still motivated by the people in the community and my wingmen to be part of this event,” said Diaz. “This initiative brings the community together in honoring our traditions while allowing children to enjoy a great time with their families; it’s a great day to be part of the PRANG.”