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Pa. Guard's 111th ATKW heralds holiday for local children's home

On right, Senior Master Sgt. Lauren Paul, 111th Force Support Squadron service superintendent, holds armfuls of donated items to pass off to 111th Security Forces Squadron members during the delivery to a local child services facility in Warminster, Pennsylvania, Dec. 15, 2016. Members of the Wing have conducted The Angel Tree holiday donation drive for more than 20 years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

On right, Senior Master Sgt. Lauren Paul, 111th Force Support Squadron service superintendent, holds armfuls of donated items to pass off to 111th Security Forces Squadron members during the delivery to a local child services facility in Warminster, Pennsylvania, Dec. 15, 2016. Members of the Wing have conducted The Angel Tree holiday donation drive for more than 20 years. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

On right, Senior Airman Igor Karlov, 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply technician, receives donated items from a member of the 201st Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) Squadron, Det. 1, Dec. 15, 2016 at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa. The 111th Attack Wing has donated toys and other items to a local children’s care facility for more than two decades. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

On right, Senior Airman Igor Karlov, 111th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply technician, receives donated items from a member of the 201st Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) Squadron, Det. 1, Dec. 15, 2016 at Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa. The 111th Attack Wing has donated toys and other items to a local children’s care facility for more than two decades. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Members of the Pa. National Guard's 111th Attack Wing here delivered more than 2,000 household supplies, essential living items and children's toys to a child services facility in Warminster, Pennsylvania, Dec. 15.

For more than 20 years, the Wing has rallied to provide essential home items and toys for the residents of the local children and youth care facility, which runs residential and transitional living programs for orphaned newborns, children, teenagers and teen mothers.

"We do this for the kids," said Master Sgt. Patrick Geiser, 111th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) instructor. "It's something we do every year since the [1990's]. These are all items that Wing members were able to gather within the past two months."

The donation program, termed The Angel Tree, has been a 111th ATKW staple around the holiday season. Wing members choose from an item on the wish lists of children. Members may also select a practical household article to assist the facility's older children learn life skills.

Items in this year's inventory varied from shower cleaner and dish towels to bikes and board games.

"It's a moral boost to have nice, new items to make it feel like home," said an administrative assistant at the establishment with 35 residents from newborn to 18 years old. "The children who are here usually come from the counties and have been neglected or abused. So when they're here, this is their home. Having these new items, and many of us takes them for granted, is a big deal to them."

A program spearheaded by Geiser this year, Guardsmen from the 111th SFS, logistics readiness squadron and services flight came together to do the heavy lifting. In classic Air Forces style, the members aligned themselves to bag drag items into and out of the transporting vehicles.

"It's part of the Guard nature to be active in our local community," said Senior Master Sgt. Lauren Paul, 111th Force Support Squadron service superintendent. "We think like a family here and that extends out into the neighborhoods that support us. We support them in return."

This event is one of a handful that Guard members here participate in each holiday season. The Wing plays a large role in the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program, hosts holiday dinners for challenged adults and donates time to local charities.

"We do it because it's the right thing to do," said Geiser. "We have the people and the means to help out those around us that need a little help. It's a small gesture, but hopefully it helps to make Christmas a little nicer for the kids."