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Holiday cookie drive spreads cheer to JBSA-Randolph Airmen

| Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | Dec. 17, 2015

Volunteers helped pack and deliver thousands of cookies to Airmen at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph during the fourth annual JBSA-Randolph holiday cookie drive Dec. 9-11.

The JBSA-Randolph Air Force Sergeants Association and the 502nd Security Forces and Logistics Support Group teamed up to organize this year’s cookie drive.

Staff Sgt. Nichole Brown, JBSA-Randolph Air Force Sergeants Association vice president, said volunteers helped pack and deliver 156 bags of cookies to 100 Airmen.

JBSA-Randolph members dropped off the cookies at the JBSA-Randolph Chapel kitchen Dec. 9, where volunteers received, packed and prepared the cookies for delivery. The cookies were delivered to Airmen at the Single Airmen Dinner Dec. 10 at the Chapel kitchen and on Dec. 11 to Airmen at their dorms and work buildings, including the Air Force Personnel Center and the Air Education and Training Command.

Butch Hales, 502nd SFLSG civilian executive officer, said each bag the Airmen received contained 18 cookies.  Also on Dec. 11, Hales said an additional 400 cookies on platters were delivered to Airmen at the flying training school graduation, the JBSA-Randolph Fire Department and 902nd Security Forces Squadron.

More than 3,200 cookies were delivered to the Airmen, the highest number of cookies received and delivered since the holiday cookie drive began four years ago, Hales said.

In addition to the volunteers, Brown said 25 of the cookie bags were decorated by children from the JBSA-Randolph Youth Center.

Volunteers who helped out on the holiday cookie drive included Col. Matthew Isler, 12th Flying Training Wing commander; Mai Lan Isler; Chief Master Sgt. Troy Palmer, 12th FTW command chief master sergeant; Col. Michael Gimbrone, 502nd SFLSG commander; Jennifer Gimbrone; and Chief Master Sgt. Katie McCool, 502nd SFLSG group superintendent.

Gimbrone said this was the second year he has helped out on the cookie drive since taking command of the 502nd SFLSG in August 2014.

“There are a couple of things that make this event great,” Gimbrone said. “All of the volunteers who bake and buy the cookies get into the holiday spirit and are giving back to the base community. This is Airmen and Soldiers taking care of our own as a community. Also, it helps give Airmen a taste of home, although they are far away from the families they grew up with.”

Gimbrone said he and 502nd SFLSG leaders started planning the cookie drive several months ago. Based on the feedback they received from last year’s event, they made several improvements, including better signage directing JBSA-Randolph members where to drop off the cookies, better publicity for the event and getting more volunteers to help out.

Through the cookie drive, McCool said JBSA-Randolph is taking time to take care of their Airmen.

“No matter how busy we get, it’s important for our Airmen to understand we are thinking about them during the holiday season,” she said.

Linda Winter, JBSA-Randolph Enlisted Spouses Club vice president, said this was her first year helping out.

“When my husband was an Airman, he got help from organizations,” she said. “So I’m paying back.”