By Maj. Karen Roxberry, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry DivisionDecember 29, 2016
OSAKA, Japan --The holiday spirit of gift giving thrives within the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, the "Wolfhounds," who for over 60 years have remained committed to caring for the children of the Holy Family Home orphanage in Osaka, Japan.
From 15-26 Dec., Sgt. 1st Class Hector Valadez, an infantryman and Sgt. Perique Roseberry, a combat medic respectively assigned to 1st and 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Reg. helped continue the Wolfhound tradition by traveling to Osaka to deliver gifts to the children of Holy Family Home for the holidays.
Through gift donations from Soldiers of both battalions and from members of the Oahu community, the Wolfhounds were able to deliver over 400 gifts this year.
"I wanted to take this opportunity to teach my son about giving back to others that need it more," said Sgt. 1st Class Valadez. "I have heard about this tradition in the past and being able to see our impact is absolutely amazing."
In 1949, a few Soldiers from the 27th Inf. Reg. attended a holiday party at the Holy Family Home orphanage and witnessed the poor conditions that the children were living in; that's when it all began, an unbreakable bond fueled by compassion and love that still exists today.
"In September 2016, my Battalion visited the Holy Family Home during Operation Orient Shield and I was able to spend an entire day with the children," said Sgt. Roseberry. "Being able to witness the excitement the Soldiers brought to not only the children but staff as well left a mark I can't explain."
"When it was announced that a representative was needed for the winter visit, I didn't hesitate to raise my hand and I prayed I would be chosen," said Sgt. Roseberry.
In 1957, Wolfhound families began hosting children from Holy Family Home in Hawaii and the following year, the Wolfhounds started sending Soldiers to Osaka during the holidays to serve as "Father Christmas" or now commonly referred to as the "Wolfhound Santa".
"The Wolfhounds remain dedicated to this tradition because of the children, said Lt. Col. Valent Bernat, commander for 1-27 Inf. Reg. "Our legacy of love and support for them will not be broken."
According to Cpt. Stephen Fifer, the Battalion S-2 for 1-27 Inf. Bn. and this year's coordinating officer, as soon as a headcount is received from Holy Family Home as to the number of children present at the orphanage, both battalions ask for toy donations.
"Gift donations arrive from both battalions as well as from countless members of the community," said Fifer "once consolidated, the regiment hosts a community gift wrapping event where we prepare the gifts for transport to Japan."
The 27th Inf. Reg. and Holy Family Home relationship is one of the longest military/civilian relationships in the U.S. Army and every year, current Wolfhounds breathe life into it.
"We owe it to all Wolfhounds that have gone before us to keep this 67 year old tradition alive," said Lt. Col. Bernat. "Wolfhounds are fierce in war, but gentle in peace."