Operation Good Cheer a Success
Holland, MI – On Saturday December 4, three aircraft from the Michigan Wing Civil Air Patrol (CAP) arrived at West Michigan Regional Airport bringing gifts for foster care children in the Holland area as part of Operation Good Cheer. They represented a larger group of other CAP, private, and corporate pilots transporting donated toys across the state of Michigan.
Operation Good Cheer, organized by Child and Family Services is celebrating its 50th year of hosting the toy drive at the beginning of each December. What started with humble beginnings in 1971 delivering gifts to 66 children, is now an operation delivering 19,941 gifts to 6,647 children in foster care in the 2021 holiday season. Individual volunteers, as well as groups from companies worked Friday evening packing and wrapping, then loading on to vans and planes on Saturday. Volunteers from various organizations across the state also helped with distributing the gifts to various recipients once the planes and trucks arrived.
For several years now, members of CAP have volunteered with loading trucks at Oakland County International Airport in addition to providing aircrews for gift delivery. 1st Lt. Michael Freeman of CAP is the project officer tasked with coordinating the Operation Good Cheer volunteers from CAP in 2021. “Operation Good Cheer is my favorite event of the year. I was involved with OGC before joining CAP, and now I am honored to lead our team’s involvement. This is a great event to show the public the type of activities that CAP participates in and contributes to the community. We have cadets from squadrons across the state of Michigan loading gifts into trucks, and marshaling over 200 aircraft between the ramp and loading areas on the field. I’m very proud to be part of such a great team.”
To see more photos, visit the online gallery on the Wing SmugMug page.
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Civil Air Patrol is the longtime auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a valued member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine aircraft and more than 2,100 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). It performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 82 lives annually. CAP’s 56,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. Operating as a nonprofit organization, CAP also plays a leading role in STEM/aerospace education, and its members serve as mentors to more than 23,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs.