Cannon’s Angel Tree

Laura Smith: Courtesy photo An Angel Tree currently sits in the Cannon Air Force Base BX with the names of the children of Cannon personnel. Program coordinator Laura Smith said the program’s goal is to give the children of struggling military families a winter coat and at least two toys for Christmas.

Alisa Boswell

Cannon Air Force Base has been accepting toy and money donations for their Angel Tree program to help the children of Cannon active duty personnel have a better Christmas.

“Mostly, it is the children of families whose first sergeants have identified as needing extra help, so it’s mostly children of our younger ranking airmen,” said event coordinator Laura Smith. “We get the name and age of the child and their gift of interest and people can pick names off the tree and buy gifts for them.”

Smith said she has been the point of contact for the program for the last two years but the program has been in effect for at least four years.

“We have young airmen who donate, which is wonderful. We have civilian employees who donate. Last year, we had people who were TDY to Cannon and weren’t even from here who donated,” Smith said. “It personally touches my heart when I see a young airman donating his hard-earned money to a cause like that. To me, that’s just wonderful.”

Smith said her children help her with the program.

She said her husband, Col. Kirk Smith, is currently deployed in Afghanistan and will not return until the summer.

“It’s even more great for me since my husband is deployed to be giving something back,” she said. “I think it’s good for my children to see too that even when dad’s deployed, we still have so much to be thankful for.”

Smith said there are 194 children on the tree this year, which is above the 170 of last year. She said well over 50 people have taken Angel Tree tags from the tree.

Tech Sgt. Casey Boone, a member of the 5-6 Booster Club, who is volunteering time with the program, said she also feels the rewarding part is being able to give back to the base community and seeing happiness brought to children and their parents.

“It boils down to taking care of the troops and making sure they and their families are taken care of,” Boone said. “It makes them happy and takes the stress off them, so they don’t have to worry about it.”

Boone said booster club members have been helping since the planning phase and will help all the way through “push day,” in which they wrap the presents for delivery.

Smith said the airmen’s first sergeants will deliver the toys on Dec. 14 and deadline for donations is Dec. 11.

“I love children and I just want to make sure all the children on Cannon have a good Christmas,” Smith said. “We also want to make sure each child gets at least two toys. Any toy someone wants to donate to the tree would be welcome and we appreciate the generosity. If they can’t afford all the toys that come with their angel, they can just buy as much as they can af