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Thank you for supporting Operation Santa for the past eight years.

Operation Santa United States Marine Corps was started by a couple of moms in Oregon, in 2004. Within a few weeks, troop supporters joined the effort to sew Christmas stockings, shop for stocking stuffers and organize community packing. In the first year, they sent more than 6,000 filled Christmas stockings to troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. To date more than 125,000 filled holiday stockings have been shipped to deployed Marines and soldiers.

It is a holiday outreach program for deployed U.S. Marines and other troops. This time of year can be difficult for our deployed service men and women. For some, this will be their first Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday spent away from home. For others, they have spent multiple holidays away from family and close friends.

What does Operation Santa-Nevada do? We provide each individual service man and woman adopted with a candy-filled Christmas stocking along with other goodies, all packed into a gallon-sized zip-lock baggie. The individual unit is provided with a Christmas tree and decorations. Along with these Christmas-related items, additional hot chocolate, apple cider, candy, coffee, tea, socks, etc., are given to the unit. When possible, paperback books, magazines, hygiene products and such are also included.

This year several schools have volunteered their services toward Operation Santa-Nevada. They are Spring Creek Middle School, Spring Creek High School, Adobe Middle School, Flag View Intermediate School, and Elko High School,

Local businesses that have helped this year are Barrick Gold of North America, Newmont Mining Corp., I&E Electric Inc., Stor-All, and Carlin Post Office. Clubs that have helped are the Elko Lions Club and the POW*MIA.

Drop off locations for Operation Santa are Elko Ruby Mt. Pawn, Gold Dust West, both Al Park Petroleum locations, Veterans Services, Albertson’s, Honk’s, Family Dollar Store, Gold’s Gym, Khoury’s Market, Carlin Post Office and Kings.

This week is our last week and we can really use the support. Saturday is when the boxes will be picked up. We need cash donation for shipping since that is our biggest expense and we need donated items of hot chocolate and apple cider packages, white tube socks, lip balm, combs, and even some fun toys like Frisbees, Nerf footballs, soccer balls, yo-yos, and such; they like to have fun also.

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Come and join the POW*MIA’s and myself on Saturday for a motorcycle ride (or a vehicle) to pick up the boxes at the local stores. We will be meeting at 10 a.m. at the Red Lion west end parking lot. It is for a good cause, supporting military personnel.

This is a great program. When Terri Dillon was looking for someone to take over I called her, because I thought this would be a shame if it stopped because no one volunteered. I had a daughter deployed to Iraq during the holidays and I remember how difficult it was for her and her companions to be away from home, especially during that time.

I regretfully am stepping down after this year. I am looking for someone to take over for next year. My hope is that someone will call me. I can be reached at 397-1911. The website for Operation Santa can be found at www.marinecorpsfamilyfoundation.org/Santa.html. I also can be contacted if you have a loved one that you would like to have Christmas Stockings shipped to. It is for any branch of the military.

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Lynette Vega is Operation Santa’s Nevada coordinator.

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