Story and photo by Devin Fisher
More than 2,000 Mountain Post children will enjoy a brighter Christmas this year thanks to the efforts of hundreds of Fort Carson
and local community volunteers who stocked the shelves of Santa’s Workshop at Alternate Escapes.
Santa’s elves donated toys, money and their time to ensure that some
of the Mountain Post’s less fortunate children would have presents waiting under the tree for them on Christmas morning, said Marti Ragano, president of Fort Carson Officers’ Spouses’ Club that coordinates the workshop.
“As a parent of a child, one of the greatest joys you get from Christmas morning is watching your children when they come down and open presents,” Ragano said. While the children will never know the names of the many volunteers who made their gifts possible, Ragano said the presents will provide the children a lifetime of memories.
She said knowing they have made the holiday season brighter for so many Families makes all the hours of preparation worthwhile.
“You’ll have (parents) that come through (Santa’s Workshop who have) three and four kids that are literally looking at you, crying and hugging you because this is all they can get their children (for Christmas),” Ragano said. “It just blows you away.”
The needs-based program provided an opportunity for parents to visit Santa’s Workshop Dec. 7-11 and select two gifts for each of their children and one family board game.
“You will touch literally thousands of Families … as they come through here and see … the generosity of the entire community,” Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general,
4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, told the Fort Carson and community volunteers at the Dec. 4 open house.
While the Families walk away with a physical gift, the general said the outpouring of community support may be the gift they most remember.
“In keeping with the spirit of the season, there will be something else in their heart as they leave here, and that came from your hearts,” he said.
Dawn Braley, Santa’s Workshop chairperson, said the FCOSC’s largest community service project is its way of giving back to the community, but is only possible due to the outpouring of support from the community.
During the open house, Ragano noted the volunteers that make the annual event a reality include both individuals and companies, like Jeppesen, Pro Promotions, Renewal by Anderson and the Fort Carson Thrift Shop.
“We love it (Santa’s Workshop), and we embrace it, but we would be nothing without all the community support,” Ragano said.
Jim Wear, president of Pro Promotions, said supporting Santa’s Workshop is a no-brainer.
“It goes without saying that the Families of the military deserve all our support,” he said, noting motorcyclists value and relish the freedoms they enjoy thanks to the sacrifices servicemembers have made and will continue to make.
“It is important that … the Soldiers, especially those out in the field, understand that the job they are doing … is very much appreciated by the people that they are doing it for,” Wear said.
Wear said the toys and money
Pro Promotion donated were results of the 22nd Annual High Country Toy Run, which also supports the Marine Corps Toys for Tots and others.
The outpouring of generosity is a testament that the local community truly supports the Mountain Post, said 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel A. Dailey.
“To see the amount of effort that’s gone in from the community, all the sponsors and the community members that put this together … it’s just amazing,” he said following the open house. “(We’ve) been in this war on terrorism for many years now… (and the) support just continues to get better. Every year I’m truly amazed by the amount of support we have and what we can do for our Soldiers with that support.”