Leadership from Ft. Wainwright and the The American Red Cross of Alaska Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) teamed up to make Christmas Eve a little merrier for a group of new soldiers.
The Red Cross of Alaska Services to the Armed Forces hosted a Christmas Eve dinner at our Fairbanks office for soldiers that just arrived at Ft. Wainwright.
Leadership from Ft. Wainwright contacted Misty Bruce, our Regional Services to the Armed Forces Specialist to identify this opportunity for the Red Cross to spread some holiday cheer in the local community.
The Red Cross was excited to host a good old-fashioned home cooked meal, and were pleased to host more than 50 soldiers.
SAF staff and volunteers decked the halls and put up a Christmas tree, and even streamed some live football to make the Red Cross office feel homey. The atmosphere offered some familiarity and comfort to the new soldiers who are facing a lot of firsts and are a long way from home.
“Many of the new soldiers have just completed basic training in the lower 48, where the climate is significantly different,” said Bruce. “Additionally, being that Alaska is considered an OCONUS (Outside the Continental United States) duty station, it is extremely costly for soldiers to fly home last minute or during the holidays.”
Bruce went on to explain many of the recruits also face the challenge of not yet having their own car; thus, Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces coordinated with the units to provide transportation, so all had the opportunity to attend the Christmas Eve meal.
And finally- the most important information: What was for dinner?! Red Cross provided a traditional meal of turkey, ham, potatoes and side dishes. All agreed the meal was a success and hope to make this an annual tradition.