By Sgt. Kevin Frazier (IMCOM)January 2, 2013
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- "Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"
That's what U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan leadership shouted out to the Yongsan Community and its first responders during the annual Operation Santa Express, Dec. 24.
Warm treats and care were given to the many Servicemembers and Civilians that work during the holidays performing various duties to keep the Area II Community safe and secure.
Operation Santa Express is in its sixth year of existence, thanks to the efforts and initiative of Ricky Oxendine, director of Emergency Services for USAG Yongsan.
"Our dedicated personnel make this holiday season a safe one by providing selfless service and commitment to the Yongsan community," Oxendine said. "We also have other committed to keeping morale high by ensuring mail gets to everyone in a timely manner, especially during the holidays."
The operation was appreciated by the Servicemembers and Civilians for having the opportunity to receive recognition for their service.
"I feel really good to know that my hard work is recognized, said Pvt. Tyler Russell, a Soldier with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG Yongsan, and assigned to the Area II Consolidated Mailroom. "I love being able to support my fellow Soldiers in making sure they receive their mail from their family and friends."
Col. Michael E. Masley, garrison commander for USAG Yongsan, thanked everyone for their selfless service through this holiday season in support of the community.
"It is definitely an honor to come out to show our appreciation for all of the hard work that you guys are doing in support of the community," Masley said. "I know that the community really appreciates all that you are doing to make sure that their family and friends or safe throughout their holiday season."
During Operation Santa Express, Masley, Oxendine, and Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Willing, command sergeant major for USAG Yongsan, visited Area II's Military Police Station, Fire Station, Emergency Room, and Consolidated Mailroom.
Willing also took the opportunity to thank first responders for their continuous efforts in providing their services, so that families and friends could enjoy the holiday season together.
"I want to thank all of you and I appreciate not only your service to the community, but also to your country," Willing said. "I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a joyful new year."