Thursday, April 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Reservists spread Christmas cheer to kindergartners

18 teddy bear 1

Sebastian Martin, 5, tells Santa Claus what he wants for Christmas during Operation Teddy Bear at Cleo Gordon Elementary School in Fairfield, Tuesday. The 349th Air Mobility Wing visited the school to give the kids Christmas presents. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | December 18, 2013 | 1 Comment

FAIRFIELD — After he hands the last Markham Elementary School kindergartner a bag of Christmas toys on Thursday, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Kloeppel, aka Santa Claus, will hang up his red suit.

“I don’t keep count any more. It has been so many years,” Kloeppel said of how many times he and his crew of Air Force Reserve assistant elves have visited local kindergartens to ask the children about their Christmas wishes and distribute bags of presents.

After 36 years with the 349th Air Mobility Wing, which organizes the visits dubbed Operation Teddy Bear, Kloeppel said he is retiring and handing the role to someone else.

“It is really fun,” Kloeppel said of the filling the role of St. Nick. “I love the kids’ expressions when they get the gifts and we get to give back to the community.”

Kloeppel has heard requests from teddy bears for a sister to one child in a previous Christmas visit who said he wanted to get his father a truck because the family’s vehicle had broken down.

The 349th reservists visited the kindergartners at Cleo Gordon Elementary School on Tuesday. The day before, they visited Anderson Elementary School in Dixon. They will also visit Fairview Elementary School on Wednesday and then Markham in Vacaville on Thursday.

Operation Teddy Bear is a longstanding holiday tradition with the 349th Air Mobility Wing, started about 12 years ago by two civilian members of the wing with a visit to a single school. It was grown since, with the 349th collecting donations from throughout the wing and from the community to buy the teddy bears, gifts and snacks.

Each of the visits starts in the school’s multipurpose room, with a show by the base’s honor guard, demonstrating how to fold and unfold a flag. Then the children are invited to each make Christmas requests to Kloeppel and are given bags of treats and gifts by the helper elves – 349th reservists wearing elf helpers’ hats.

“It is nice to see how happy the children are,” Master Sgt. Dana Rhodes said.

Cleo Gordon teacher Rozanne Helms had one of the four classes that got to meet Santa and get the bags of goodies.

“It went great. It was wonderful,” Helms said. “The kids just twinkle for the rest of the day and it is really something that they remember.”

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JBDragonDecember 18, 2013 - 1:24 pm

    Really, the ACLU or whoever else hasn't stop this from happening yet around here? I'm sure it won't last for to much longer.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Supervisor candidates square off at forum

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Carli takes oath, now Vacaville’s 14th police chief

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Huge jump in Solano median home price

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Solano DA hosts workshop to fight human trafficking

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Suisun water rates won’t rise this year

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Kaiser area head Villalobos to leave for SoCal

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Donate a car, help build a house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield town hall on crime delayed

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Railway museum offers wine-tasting rides

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Travis trustee takes back blast at radio duo

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Drugs topic of cardiac class

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Fairfield police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun Police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for April 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Armed robber was never told to report to prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Lost sea lion in California found mile from water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Body of California man who jumped into river found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Court rules for environmentalists in water fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Governor calls special session on rainy day fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Seabird from Atlantic spotted on Alcatraz

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-Bell city leader gets 12 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California delays decision on protecting gray wolf

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Geneva talks on Ukraine face steep hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pro-Russian insurgents seize armored vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ferry sinks off South Korea; 6 dead, 290 missing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Man charged with marathon hoax is held on bail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Obamacare news you probably missed

By Martin Schram | From Page: A11

 
In support of Pam Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
A lesson in household budgeting

By Chris Erskine | From Page: A2

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ breaks romantic ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Daniel Radcliffe on why New York audiences rock

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Alicia Silverstone out with book ‘Kind Mama’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on ‘The View’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Ailing Malcolm Young taking break from AC/DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Crawford’s 41 points leads Warriors over Nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vacaville’s Peralta to wrestle at San Francisco State

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Angels beat A’s 5-4 on Iannetta’s HR in 12th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
MEL, SCAC tangle in hoops all-star games

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

Sharks take goalie questions into rematch vs Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sidney Rice agrees to terms with Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodwin helps Suns to 104-99 win over Kings in finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
IndyCar driver Saavedra fined $10K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sandoval’s single lifts Giants past Dodgers, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Officer: Sharper’s DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Spieth ready for more after Masters success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Backup QB Matt Flynn returns to Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Yellen: Fed stimulus still needed for job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Bank of America posts loss, hurt by legal charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Google’s 1Q earnings disappoint as ad prices slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics