JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. -- Holiday tunes filled the air at Madigan Army Medical Center as folks lined up to spread some holiday cheer to deployed Madigan team members.

At the annual present-packaging event, volunteers went about happily filling boxes to be sent to deployed Soldiers with numerous articles like baby wipes, books, snacks, movies, gift cards and decorations that vendors and others had generously donated.

One volunteer said, "I got a female Soldier so I took great care to select things that I thought she could use, right down to a novel that I thought a woman would want to read."
Many of the "Santa's helpers" assembling the boxes work at Madigan and showed up with their families to support the deployed soldiers.

"A lot of Madigan team members have family members supporting the cause today, and we appreciate that," said Col. Karen O'Brien, Madigan's deputy commander for clinical services.

In addition to music and gifts, there was also a lavish food table with all kinds of goodies at the event and an arts and crafts table for children to spend time creating artwork and messages to send to the Soldiers -- complete with glue, tape, color paper and glitter.

"This is one of the great annual holiday traditions we have at Madigan that shows support for deployed Soldiers," said Lt. Col. Ralph Deatherage, Madigan Troop Battalion commander. "There are fewer (Soldiers deployed) this year, but we want to recognize everyone."