Santa's Workshop Delivers a Wrangler Christmas to Fort Hood Families

By Pvt. Sean McGuire
Public Affairs Specialist
4th Sustainment Brigade

FORT HOOD, Texas — For the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) a unit that spent last year's Christmas deployed, the meaning of the term ‘Home for the Holidays' took on a whole new and more powerful meaning this year. The Wrangler Brigade seized its opportunity to celebrate this Christmas by taking part in and heading up Santa's Workshop for Fort Hood.

The Santa's Workshop and its volunteers work year-round, gathering funds and donations from countless organizations and companies all across the state of Texas, in an effort that culminates into eight days of giving Soldiers toys so they can give their children the joy of Christmas. The Wrangler Brigade played a big part from both sides.

4th Sust. Bde. Soldiers were on stand-by throughout the brigade's time sponsoring Santa's Workshop, providing help at any time needed. Whether it was buffing the floors or swooping in on a moment's notice to fix computer issues, Wranglers just got it done.

"They were great. We called them one day when we were having problems with our computers and within the hour they were here fixing it," said Jackeline Fountain, a liaison for the Santa's Workshop and retired Command Sergeant Major, who has a daughter currently deployed to Afghanistan.

Over 1,300 families were provided with gifts for over 3,000 children of Soldiers at Fort Hood – 130 of these were Wrangler families.

"It was an opportunity for our Soldiers who couldn't afford to provide for their children during Christmas," said Sgt 1st Class James Yuras, a Command Financial Specialist for the Wrangler Brigade. "I sat down with each of them and worked out a budget to see if they truly were in need and gave them an option if they did."

Soldiers would come in, grab a cart, and go row by row searching for a set-number of gifts for their children. To help keep the spirit of Christmas intact, children were not allowed in the toy shop.

"If families absolutely had to bring their children, we'd pull them to the side and play with them, trying not to let them see what their mom and dad were doing. And we'd try to cover up the toys as they'd get done," said Sherri Visser, Santa's Workshop President, whose husband is deployed to Iraq.

Families could find books, sporting equipment, and games in the workshop.

"People came in here and cried. They had no clue what they were going to do for Christmas," said Visser. "We're trying to bless the Soldiers and their families, and it ended up that we were the ones being blessed."

With so many Fort Hood Soldiers deployed and making it back in time for the holidays, the volunteers at the Santa's Workshop always know who they're doing it for.

"It's all about making our Soldier's lives so much better," said Fountain.


news photo
Fort Hood, Texas – The eight days of business for the Santa's Workshop, which the 4th Sustainment Brigade sponsored and also sent 130 of its Soldiers and families to receive gifts for their children, took place in the III Corps Tax Center beside the Commissary.
(U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Sean McGuire)

news photo
Fort Hood, Texas – A few of the 75 volunteers gathered and enjoyed a home cooked meal at their volunteer appreciation luncheon the day after the final gifts made their way to more than 1,300 Fort Hood families.
(U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Sean McGuire)