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Community gives to military families through Operation Warm Heart

A first sergeant loads wrapped presents into a car

A U.S. Air Force first sergeant loads gifts donated to Operation Warm Heart into a vehicle at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Dec. 14, 2020. Members of the Nellis and Creech Air Force bases’ First Sergeant’s Association deliver gifts to families within their units who need extra help for the holidays. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Olivia Grooms)

airmen sort through wrapped gifts

A U.S. Air Force first sergeant carries gifts donated to Operation Warm Heart at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Dec. 14, 2020. The Nellis and Creech Air Force bases’ First Sergeants Association hosts Operation Warm Heart, an Adopt-A-Family event held annually to provide for families in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Olivia Grooms)

a pink bike and blue toy dump truck loaded with wrapped gifts

Gifts donated to Operation Warm Heart await pickup at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Dec.14, 2020. This year, local businesses and organizations sponsored over 500 children for Operation Warm Heart’s Adopt-A-Family program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Olivia Grooms)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada --

Members of the First Sergeant’s Association assigned to Creech and Nellis Air Force bases teamed up to conduct an Operation Warm Heart event for Airmen and their families.

Each year, Operation Warm Heart hosts its own Adopt-A-Family program designed to provide for military families in need during the holiday season.

“On a typical year, we have around 300 kids that need a little bit of extra love, but this year we had over 500,” said Master Sgt. Richard Wynn, 57th Operations Support Squadron first sergeant.

The initiative is funded by local businesses and organizations, as well as various military organizations.

“SouthShore Country Club Lake Las Vegas takes great pride in being a part of Operation Warm Heart,” said Joseph Travaglio, general manager of SouthShore Country Club. “This is the club’s main charity during the holidays, and this year in particular reflected the kindness of our membership as we had a substantial increase in contributions.”

“I’ve never seen so much generosity from a community before,” said Senior Master Sgt. Krystal Rankin, 99th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant. They’re trying their best to really take care of the military members.”

Due to the bases’ large populations, this operation took months of precise planning and coordination.

“We started the process back in September,” said Rankin. “First, we had to identify who we were going to have as sponsors. At the same time, we had all of the first sergeants looking through their squadrons to identify who those families in need were going to be.”

Families and donors got matched up in mid-October to allow time for shopping and to ensure the presents would be distributed for the holidays.

“This is the best part of the year for me. Even in one of the worst years we’ve had, we were able to give some sort of joy,” Wynn said.

Everyone’s participation in this project reinforces the partnership between Nellis, Creech and the Las Vegas community.

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