November 1, 2017
At the risk of being criticized for already bringing up the subject of Christmas, please let me remind you the Holiday Season is upon us. Another year has sped by. It seems like yesterday we had Christmas. It is no small frustration for me to have already seen Christmas decorations and displays in many stores. So, why do I choose to bring this up? The Tree of Hope drive, that's why!
For those of you who do not know, there is a terrific team of aviators and aviation enthusiasts who collects toys for children who find themselves in the hospital over the Holidays. This effort, Tree of Hope, has been encouraging pilots from across the state to purchase toys for children, big and small, and to deliver them to the Maple Lake airport where they are collected, processed, and subsequently assigned for delivery to hospitals across the state.
We have been a supporter of the Tree of Hope campaign since the inception of the Minnesota Pilots Association in 2013, but we feel we need to do more to help boost this important effort. By the time you read this, members of the MN Pilots Association will have received an email asking for contributions of gifts, and coordination of flights to deliver the gifts to the Tree of Hope headquarters at the Maple Lake airport (KMMG) on Saturday, December 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
I know many of you have considered contributing to this wonderful effort, but it seems like the date for collections sneaks up on us and we say, "What the heck, I'll get the gifts next week," and before you know it the collection date has already passed. Time really does fly by at this time of year.
When I first decided to contribute gifts, I recall going to the toy section of a large store to pick out a few things. It was a bit of an intimidating process, to be honest. There were kids roaming up and down the aisles, making sometimes emphatic hints to their parents about what they wanted for Christmas. Sometimes loudly emphatic. There are so many toys to choose from, but they are relatively organized according to age groups, and this really helps. The Tree of Hope leaders point out they need toys for children who are infants all the way up to age 18 as there is a wide range of children who are hospitalized. If you choose to be a Good Santa's Helper, please make selections that would likely contribute to the happiness of these kids of different ages.
Having spent holidays in hospitals when I was in medical training, I can tell you there are not many things more sad than seeing a child bedridden, away from home, wishing they could be sitting around the family Christmas tree. We have the opportunity, as aviators, to step up to the plate and knock out a home run for these kids, all in the name of aviation. We can help our communities know we not only love aviation, but we also have our hearts in the right place, too.
Please contact your local EAA chapter, or contact the Tree of Hope leaders for information regarding the gift flight, and please help out by providing gifts, or providing a flight to deliver the gifts, or both. Santa is making his list. He will be checking it twice. I hope you are on his list! Thank you!
Remember, gift collection time and place: Saturday, December 2, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Maple Lake (KMGG) airport! For more information, visit http://www.holidaytreeofhope.org.