Angels in Blue

USAF: Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal Lt. Col. Doug Distaso, 551st Special Operations Squadron director of operations, watches the child his squadron sponsored unwrap his gifts at the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home Dec. 11 in Portales. Cannon Air Commandos sponsored 23 children for the holidays.

By Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal: 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

More than 30 Air Commandos with the 27th Special Operations Group at Cannon Air Force Base celebrated an early Christmas at the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home in Portales on Dec. 11.

The 27 SOG has hosted the event, also known as “Angels in Blue,” for the past three years. This year’s sponsorship program provided 23 children currently living at the Baptist home with gifts who might not otherwise have had a holiday.

“It’s great to be part of an event like this and be able to give something special to truly amazing children,” said Col. Bill West, 27 SOG commander. “It’s great to see our base come together and give back to our local community in such a meaningful way.”

According to Col. West, 12 squadrons participated in the event. Each child received more than $250 in gifts from their sponsoring squadron.

“It’s an awesome and exceptional privilege to be a part of this event,” said Lt. Col. Donny Purdy, 73rd Special Operations Squadron commander. “We all get to walk away from this knowing we made the holidays special for these kids.”

More than 150 people attended the event. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus passed out the gifts, and brought the children together with their sponsoring squadrons.

Wrapping paper started flying as members from each squadron stood by eagerly to see the expressions on their child’s face after opening their gifts.

“There definitely is quiet nobility in what we are doing here,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth Mershon, 27th Special Operations Support Squadron commander. “We are all genuinely happy to be sharing all the sentiments this holiday brings with these outstanding kids.”

Along with sharing holiday cheer, Air Commandos and their kids sat together sipping hot cocoa and eating an array of holiday cookies.

“This is what the holiday season is all about,” said Karen Elton, wife of Col. Buck Elton, 27th Special Operations Wing commander. “The local communities already give so much to our Air Commandos, being able to put on events like this is just a small way Cannon can show we support our neighbors just as much.”