FORT KNOX, Ky. - Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus. Right down Old Ironsides Avenue?
Not quite the lyrics most would expect from this Christmas carol, but on November 22 you would have found multiple 4th Cavalry Multi-Functional Training Brigade Soldiers marching across Fort Knox, Kentucky, dressed as elves, reindeer and Santa Claus.
The 4th Cav MFTB Soldiers conducted a one-mile fun march as they made their way to the Red Cross Santa's Workshop warehouse to donate more than 200 gifts. Through the Santa's Workshop program, Fort Knox family members who are in need have the opportunity to shop for the donated gifts at no cost.
Capt. Rylie Delong, an observer coach/trainer assigned to 4th Cav MFTB, said that the event was fun for her and her 14-year-old daughter, Shannon.
"It was a fun event that allowed us to get our families out of bed," Delong said. "And it was an easy way to give."
But for Delong, the event was more than just about having fun. Delong, who donated two bikes to the program, said that the event was an opportunity to give back to the community and those less fortunate.
"Honestly, it's hard to imagine a Christmas where a child doesn't receive a gift from Santa," Delong said. "As a parent, I certainly want my child to have the same excitement that I had growing up. Not every family is able to do that for their children and although that is not the real reason for the season, it's nice to know that you are making some child's holiday better."
Delong explained that she also used the event to teach her daughter about the gift of giving.
"This was a great opportunity to not only reflect with my daughter on the blessings we have as a family, but to also discuss with her how many families are not able to provide their children a great Santa gift," Delong said.
When discussing the program with my daughter, it provided an opportunity for her to purchase the gift with her allowance money, which to me represents a real giving when a personal sacrifice is made."
Delong expressed her gratitude for the opportunity for her and her daughter to participate in the fun march and donate to the Red Cross.
"My family and I are very fortunate, and the thought that even just one child might have as good of a Christmas as my family and I will be having is a good feeling," said Delong.