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Hanscom Airman spark holiday cheer

The Hanscom AFB community officially ushered in the holiday season during a parade and tree lighting ceremony at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 3. Watch as members of the community lined the streets to wave to Santa and his helpers before senior leaders lit the base tree.

Airman 1st Class Kaylie Czap, left, dorm council member, and Staff Sgt. Elizer Candelaria, Joint Personal Property Shipping Office transportation assistant, add decorations to a truck before the holiday parade and tree lighting on Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 3. The Hanscom Dorm Council planned the 2020 event with help from the 66th Air Base Group and volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

Airman 1st Class Kaylie Czap, left, dorm council member, and Staff Sgt. Elizer Candelaria, Joint Personal Property Shipping Office transportation assistant, add decorations to a truck before the holiday parade and tree lighting on Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 3. The Hanscom Dorm Council planned the 2020 event with help from the 66th Air Base Group and volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

Airman 1st Class Emangelyn Pascua, Hanscom Dorm Council member, wires together a costume for the holiday parade and tree lighting at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 3. Pascua handmade four costumes for council members to wear during the parade. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

Airman 1st Class Emangelyn Pascua, Hanscom Dorm Council member, wires together a costume for the holiday parade and tree lighting at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 3. Pascua handmade four costumes for council members to wear during the parade. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

Hanscom hosts tree lighting ceremony virtually

Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander, center, Chief Master Sgt. William Hebb, installation command chief, right, as well as the Grinch and Charlie Stephens, switch on the lights to the installation holiday tree during a ceremony at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 3. The annual event was held virtually this year and included a parade through Hanscom family housing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

Hanscom Airman spark holiday cheer

Vehicles make their way toward onlookers during a holiday-themed parade at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 3. The Hanscom community officially welcomed the holiday season during the event that included the annual tree lighting ceremony outside Outdoor Recreation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Hanscom community officially welcomed the holiday season during a parade and annual tree lighting ceremony here Dec. 3.

The evening was grand marshalled by six Airmen from the Hanscom Dorm Council, who planned every detail of the community event.

“Everything about the event was better than we imagined it would be,” said Airman 1st Class Evelyn Wilkes, Dorm Council president.

The council had just over a month to plan an event for the entire community, while keeping COVID safety measures in mind. They decided on a parade of holiday characters, who would make their way through base before the tree lighting streamed live over social media.

Every element of the event, including costumes, decorations and pre-packaged treats, was created by the Dorm Council.

“I’d never really sewn or made costumes before, but we all had a job to do,” said Airman 1st Class Emangelyn Pascua, dorm council member, who hand-made four holiday character costumes for the parade.

Pascua said the council pulled inspiration from films and craft stores to create character costumes everyone could relate to, regardless of holiday affiliation.

The Airmen said their hard work paid off during the event when they saw the number of residents outside for the parade, and that they were happy to play a part in making the holidays feel magical.

“Seeing all the children outside and how happy they were was worth all the effort we put into it,” said Wilkes. “Now I understand why Santa Claus does what he does every year.”  

Senior leaders lauded the event as a success and commended the Airmen for their efforts.

“It was so impressive to see a group of junior-enlisted Airmen work together like this and put on such a great event,” said Master Sgt. Ronald Young, a Dorm Council mentor for the event. “The leadership they exhibited at such an early time in their career is really encouraging, and I know the future of our force and community is good hands.”