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Operation Santa Claus kicks off Alaska's holiday season

By Maj. Guy Hayes
Alaska National Guard

CAMP CARROLL, Alaska (10/15/09) -- The holidays got a jump start Oct. 14, when elves started preparing for the 2009 Operation Santa Claus season at the annual gift wrapping party.

Operation Santa Claus visits several villages and hundreds of children each holiday season, and the wrapping party is a way to get everyone in the holiday spirit while getting all those presents prepared to leave the workshop.

This year marks the 53rd anniversary of Operation Santa Claus, an Alaska National Guard program that delivers school supplies, presents, and Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus to rural villages across the state.
"Guardsmen and community volunteers come together every year to make Operation Santa Claus a huge success and the gift wrapping party is a great event that kicks off the season and gets us all in the holiday spirit," said Brig. Gen. Thomas Katkus, acting adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard.
This year Operation Santa Claus will be visiting Koyuk, St. George, Gambell, Pedro Bay, Non Dalton, Kasigluk and Klukwan.