By Michael Abeyta

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Pilot Bill Jones prepared for takeoff at the Centennial Airport on Sunday. His cargo: food and toys. His destination: Pueblo.

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“We’re bringing things that they might not be able to get themselves. Things that make their lives a lot easier.”

Jones is the Metro State University Denver Precision Flight Team captain. They joined forces with the Colorado Aviation Business Association for the 8th annual VFW charity airlift.

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Jones says it’s a great way to spend a Sunday in December.

“It’s a total blast. You’re flying around with people, you know, and meeting up beforehand. Just having a common interest like this is really a neat way to spend time with some friends” he said.

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Their mission is to provide toys and non-perishable food items to veterans and their families in rural communities throughout the state. The VFW collects the donations, CABA coordinates airlift logistics from Centennial Airport, and MSU Denver Flight Team pilots fly those supplies to their final destinations.

Justin Darnall, is the MSU Denver student government president and a Marine Corps veteran. He knows how much of a difference these provisions will make in the lives of the veterans that need them.

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“It’s an incredible impact. I know the VFWs of some of the remote locations without this they wouldn’t be able to provide as much as they do to their veteran community,” Darnall said.

It’s a big undertaking, but it’s worth it for all these people donating their time and resources because it helps those who have served their country have a happy holiday season.

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“As a veteran I couldn’t be more thankful for what they are doing, and as the student president of MSU as a whole, we couldn’t be more proud that they were willing to volunteer their time on a Sunday to give back to the community of Colorado,” Darnall said.

It’s something Jones and his fellow pilot love to do every year.

“It’s nice to be able to serve them because they served us.”

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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