MILTON — Naval Air Station Whiting Field’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation department annually provides several activities and events for its military families during the holidays.
Christmas events begin at 8 a.m. Dec. 9 with the "Don’t Be a Grinch 10k" with a one-mile run for children. The run is free with a medallion for all participants.
MWR will host the NAS Whiting Field Kids Christmas Party following the run until noon.
"There will be games, crafts, pictures, free toys, and more for all to enjoy," NAS Whiting Field MWR Marketing Manager Lenny Nordmann said.
Making a guest appearance, Santa Claus will arrive at 10 a.m. to greet children, take pictures and lead the lighting of the NAS Whiting Field Christmas tree.
MWR also encourages every unit to be involved in creating giant holiday greeting cards to display on base. Dec. 9 is the day the cards will be judged in the Giant Holiday Card Contest.
As for Thanksgiving, highlights on the base were food and family. MWR provided Thanksgiving meals for sailors who couldn’t be home for the holiday while volunteers in Santa Rosa County helped provide for young sailors with families of their own.
With the help of the United Way Santa Rosa County and community donors and volunteers, over 70 families of Naval Air Station Whiting Field received a fried turkey and Thanksgiving side dishes.
Mike Patterson led a team of volunteers who conducted the turkey fry benefiting military families, according to UWSRC Major Gifts Manager Kyle Holley.
AC1 Michael Hine made the connection between UWSR and Whiting Field families.
"We get a number of turkeys available from the United Way," Hine said. "We focus on the most junior sailors with the most dependents because we have junior sailors who have kids, wives and homes. We also have a lot of junior sailors that live in the barracks and can’t be with their families for Thanksgiving…
"We were able to help a lot of people."