National Guard flies Santa to remote Arctic village Christmas toys and other supplies are loaded from a C130 military transport plane onto sleds being pulled by snowmobiles in Shishmaref, Alaska. At left, Santa and Mrs. Claus get off the C130 (AP photos)
National Guard flies Santa to remote Arctic village
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Volunteers who brought Christmas to a remote Inupiat Eskimo community on Alaska's western coast came bearing necessities. Those included coats and school supplies as well as rare treats like apples and oranges. And even ice cream.

"'Cause everybody loves ice cream," said 17-year-old Cheyenne Nayokpuk. She was asked why anyone living 25 miles south of the Arctic Circle would want the cold treat.

The Operation Santa Program and the Alaska National Guard brought toys and other gifts to Shishmaref. It's the 58th year the program has brought holiday cheer to remote Alaska villages. Poverty there is widespread.

"For some of these kids, if it weren't for the toys we're delivering, they might not get a toy or anything at Christmas," said Maj. George Baker. He is divisional commander for the Salvation Army in Alaska.

"You think we're living in the United States. But for a lot of these folks, this makes Christmas for them. Were it not for (Operation) Santa, they might not have anything."

Besides Shishmaref, the other village that received a visit this year was Newtok. Both are among Alaska's most eroded villages. Both have plans to relocate. Newtok is further along in the process.

The National Guard provided a C-130 transport plane to take the volunteers. Aboard the aircraft was a Salvation Army band, and gifts to Shishmaref. It's located about 600 miles northwest of Anchorage or about 100 miles east from Russia.

"There is a lot of need in Shishmaref," school Principal Ralph Watkins said. "Having access to just some of your basic things is an event."

He said it takes effort to get to the village. For anyone wanting to get there from the Lower 48 states, it would require first a flight to Anchorage, followed by another airplane ride to Nome. Visitors still would need one more plane ride. It's a big deal for someone to come in and bring gifts, he said.

"It's all the kids have been talking about for the last week," he said.

Some community members drove their snowmobiles to the airstrip to greet the airplane. They waved to Santa and Mrs. Claus as they got off. The honored couple rode in a pickup to the school for the big event. Other volunteers jumped in sleds and were pulled to town by snowmobiles.

Santa met with every child before the children went down a line. They received a gift, backpack, a book and then ice cream.

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COMMENTS (8)
  • cameronb-Ewi
    12/15/2014 - 10:53 a.m.

    who brought toys and to other gifts to shishmaref? the operation Santa program and the Alaska national guard.
    what were the two people off? Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
    where did they took Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus at? the remote arctic village.
    when did this happened? December 15, 2014
    why did the national guard gave Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus a ride? they needed to get the arctic village to give the kids gifts, backpack, a book and ice cream.

  • UmarH-Mau
    12/15/2014 - 11:24 a.m.

    What a nice thing for these people to do. If I were in need of these things this is something that I would never forget. This season is a wonderful time for acts of kindness.

  • orahf-
    12/16/2014 - 09:10 a.m.

    The story was national guard that bring food and supplies they bring them to people. That need food and supplies they are do not have money. They get gifts and food and idea cream and Santa clous go to the villages it was coming break down.

  • brady.q-
    12/16/2014 - 09:28 a.m.

    I think the story is interesting story about national guard flies Santa to remote arctic village. They relocate about to 100 miles east from Russia.

  • JoshG-Mau
    12/16/2014 - 11:28 a.m.

    Why would you bring Santa their??? i wonder if santa will like it?

  • freddyh-Ewi
    12/17/2014 - 03:50 p.m.

    this about people who don't have things that they need and want badly

  • freddyh-Ewi
    12/17/2014 - 03:53 p.m.

    its about people who lives were the cold is at the most. people there don't have what they need like some people don't have a coat

  • Tiffany0307-yyca
    1/13/2015 - 08:41 p.m.

    Okay, it sounds so weird. Santa is a myth,(I don't think he's real.) Plus, they are crazy to have ice cream in a cold place. They should have drunk hotter and warmer stuff like hot cocoa or just hot water. But most importantly, the Santa part is totally weird. Santa is not a true guy. That Santa must be just an old and fat grandpa with a Santa costume on.

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