Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Events spread holiday spirit

Photo by Rick Emert.  Family member Kristin Harris, 5, sits on Santa's lap Sunday at the Santa's at the Elkhorn event at Elkhorn Conference Center. Kristin asked for a Nintendo DS game.

Photo by Rick Emert. Family member Kristin Harris, 5, sits on Santa

Mountaineer staff

Santa Claus took some time out of his busy schedule to help the Mountain Post

community get into the holiday spirit.

Santa was at the Special Events Center Dec. 3-6 for the Holiday on Specker Street holiday village and at the Elkhorn Conference Center Dec. 9 for the volunteer holiday social and again Sunday for a Santa’s in Town event for the whole Family.

The free holiday village featured an indoor ice skating rink, games and crafts for children, live entertainment and performances, and holiday food and beverages.

Fort Carson and Army Community Service leadership held the volunteer social to pay tribute to the 3,820 post volunteers who donated more than 145,000 man-hours in fiscal 2009.

Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort

Carson, told the more than 450 people attending the social that the post volunteers are “a living, walking example of what the holidays are about.”

He said spending a few minutes with a Fort Carson volunteer would surely get one into the holiday spirit.

“Just watch them for a couple of minutes and you will get into the spirit of the holidays,” he said. “You (volunteers) all have embodied the spirit of the holidays.”

Garrison Commander Col. Robert F. McLaughlin said the definition of volunteer – somebody who does something without getting paid or without getting told – doesn’t do Fort Carson volunteers justice.

“We could not do what we do for Soldiers and Families without you,” McLaughlin said.

“One of the greatest gifts of all that you can give is one of your time – it’s something that you can’t store and it’s something you can’t get back,” said Pat Randle, ACS director. “Words cannot adequately express or convey … our appreciation for all that you do and all that you will continue to do throughout the coming year for our Soldiers and Families here at Fort Carson.”

At the Santa’s in Town event at the Elkhorn Conference Center Sunday, community members got a barbecue-style meal and could participate in a number of activities, including photos with Santa Claus, decorating Christmas cookies, face painting and playing in bouncy houses.

The visit from Santa Claus seemed to be most popular among the children.

Family member Kristin Harris, 5, was second in line to get her chance to put in a gift request. She asked for a Nintendo DS.

Although Kristin said she was happy to see Santa Claus, there were some guests noticeably missing.

“It made me think of Rudolph,” Kristin said. “Santa has the most wonderful reindeer.”

Upcoming events include Balfour Beatty Communities, Fort Carson Family Housing, handing out free toys to Mountain Post military children Monday from 4-6 p.m. at

the Special Events Center during its free third Annual Toy Giveaway which features photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus; a free holiday opera, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at

6 p.m. Friday at the Freedom Performing Arts Center, building 1129; the 5th Annual Christmas Eve Party Dec. 24 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Grant Library with a lunch buffet, visit with Santa and activities for the children; and a New Year’s Eve party at the Thunder Alley Bowling Center starting at

10 p.m. Dec. 31 that includes black-light bowling, music and a New Year’s breakfast. Admission to the bowling event is $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under; call 526-5542 to reserve a lane.

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