FORT BLISS, Texas--Twenty Soldiers from 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, served as escorts and assisted attendees at the 35th annual Doll Ladies Tea Dec. 2nd at the Officers' Club.

The event honors the tradition of Operation Santa Claus, a program through which toys are collected and repaired and then given to underprivileged children for Christmas. In 1957, then-Master Sgt. Phillip Trout began refurbishing discarded toys and distributing them to local children. The program has now expanded and gives away thousands of toys including dolls each year.

Col. Emmitt Schaill, commander of 1st HBCT, 1st AD, and 20 Soldiers from his unit attended the tea in full dress uniform to escort the ladies to their seats, take pictures of them upon request, and serve coffee, cake and punch.
Several Soldiers said they enjoyed helping the ladies at the tea feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.

"I've done a lot of [community events] with Colonel Schaill," said Sgt. Marco A. Contreras III. "It is positive for the community of El Paso."

Glenda Bromberg, wife of Maj. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, Fort Bliss commanding general, also helped by serving cake and other food items during the tea.

Members of both the Officer and Civilian Spouses' Association and the Noncommissioned Officers' Wives Club volunteered as well, presenting the ladies who repaired the dolls with tokens of appreciation.

The groups who helped repair the dolls were Buena Vida Adult Center Lower Valley, Buena Vida Adult Center East, Wellington Chew, Sun Country Dolls, Sun Plaza, Father Pinto, Henderson Community, Hervey Community, Father Ochoa, Baines Community and the Chelea.