By Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Team Schriever gathered to light the base Christmas tree and ring in the holiday season Dec. 1, outside of Building 210 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.
Col. DeAnna M. Burt, 50th Space Wing commander; Lt. Col. Casey Beard, 1st Space Operations Squadron commander; Lucy Paffett, wife of Capt. Tyler Paffett 1 SOPS, and their sons Tyler and Lucas had the honor of lighting the Christmas tree.
“It feels great to be part of the tree lighting ceremony,” said Lucy. “We feel really included and it is nice to be part of Schriever and the holiday festivities — we feel really honored.”
As the tree was lit, Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Ray, 50 SW, explained the meaning behind the lights.
“The lights on the Christmas tree represent hope in the world,” said Ray. “May the bright lights fill our hearts with warmth this season. The lights on the tree may have different meanings to the diversity of our military, but celebrating today brings us all together to enjoy the spirit of giving, caring and sharing.”
The event fostered a sense of community and brought a small piece of home and holiday tradition to each person in attendance.
“The holidays are a great time to be with your family and celebrate the season, but for some of us especially in the military, we don’t always get to be with each other for the holidays,” said Burt. “Thank you all for your service, I know it can be tough when you’re away from your family.”
The Chapel staff hopes this event helped Team 5-O see we are all part of a military family.
“We want to make sure we incorporate traditions into our Schriever community so others feel a family presence, especially through the holidays,” said Staff Sgt. Jacqulyn Rider, 50 SW chaplain’s assistant.
To further enhance the holiday spirit, Ellicott Elementary School choir students, led by James Christian, sang “Jingle Bells,” “Feliz Navidad,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Winter Wonderland.”
“The choir sang beautifully,” said Burt. “I want to thank our Ellicott family for being out here today with us.”
The event also featured visits from Scruff McGruff, Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus.
“The ride down from the North Pole was a little rough, but the weather is cooperating,” said Santa. “It’s a nice day to welcome the holiday season with this tree lighting and say ‘Merry Christmas’ to all the kids. I’m so glad the Ellicott kids were able to participate.”
This was Santa’s second visit to Schriever for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
“I came last year and it was a wonderful ceremony,” said Santa. “I’m glad I could make it down again to take part in such a great event.”
Rider explained the event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the force support squadron, the Schriever AFB Fire Department, the Satellite Dish Dining Facility, the civil engineering squadron’s electrical shop, Thea Wasche, Bill Arimborgo, Billy Ray and the Chapel Staff.
“[The tree lighting ceremony committee] are all on the nice list this year,” said Santa. “They’ve been very kind and generous and they’ve given me a very warm welcome.”
Santa offered advice to all the boys and girls on how to stay on the nice list this year.
“Remember to listen to your parents. Christmas isn’t here yet, so there is still time to make that naughty list — although, I hope all the kids end up on the nice list.”