By Kelly Werthmann
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Thanks to a handful of volunteers Sunday morning, hundreds of Colorado veterans will receive planes full of holiday cheer.
“It’s important because there are veterans that are in need,” U.S. Navy veteran Peter Buchanan said.
Buchanan also serves as the chairman for the VFW Charity Airlift, which celebrated its sixth annual event Sunday. More than 10,000 pounds of toys and non-perishable foods were delivered to rural towns across the state to be given to veterans and families in need.
“This is a record year for us,” Vice Chairwoman of the Colorado Aviation Business Association Kandi Spangler told CBS4. “All of the food and toys were collected all around the state in bigger cities.”
Volunteer pilots, including students from Metropolitan State University in Denver’s Precision Flight Team, delivered the packages to Alamosa, Burlington, Pueblo, Montrose and Las Animas. The destinations were selected based on regional VFW office needs and the ability to provide support using private air service.
“It’s really kind of Santa’s sleigh in a different sense,” Spangler said. “Santa’s been upgraded.”
The precisely weighed and sorted supplies were loaded into 10 private planes, some donated by the volunteers, at Centennial Airport. By Sunday afternoon, the special deliveries were made to those who wouldn’t otherwise have much for the holidays.
“You see tears on the kids’ faces when they open up and get a teddy bear,” Buchanan described. “You see the tears in the parents’ eyes when they get packages of food that they didn’t think they’d be eating.”
CABA along with local VFW posts statewide collected the donations starting in October. They’re sure to lift spirits, arriving on time for the holiday season.
“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to help veterans in that way,” Buchanan said.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.