Base employees spread the holiday spirit to the local community

Release Number: 121209

Centerstone Mental Health case worker Carrie Hawk (left) helps Aerospace Testing Alliance employees Warner Tombs, Suzanne Luthi and Fred Hutchinson load Christmas gifts into a van. (Photo by Gary Johnson)

Centerstone Mental Health case worker Carrie Hawk (left) helps Aerospace Testing Alliance employees Warner Tombs, Suzanne Luthi and Fred Hutchinson load Christmas gifts into a van. (Photo by Gary Johnson)

Employees at Arnold Engineering Development Center dontated hundreds of gifts for the AEDC Angel Tree program. The gifts will go to children and families of the Center for Family Development and the Centerstone Mental Health Center. (Photo by Andrea Stephens)

Employees at Arnold Engineering Development Center dontated hundreds of gifts for the AEDC Angel Tree program. The gifts will go to children and families of the Center for Family Development and the Centerstone Mental Health Center. (Photo by Andrea Stephens)


The holiday season is a time when families unite to spread joy and happiness to those less fortunate. The Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) family has joined together to ensure children will have presents to open on Christmas morning.

Aerospace Testing Alliance's (ATA) Suzanne Luthi, chairperson for the AEDC Angel Tree program, explains, "You don't know why they choose to give. There might be an underlying reason, as these people come in and you look at them and you see just how big their hearts are, it humbles you."

This year, despite the economic situation some are facing, AEDC employees participated in the opportunity to sponsor more than 200 children from the Center for Family Development and Centerstone Mental Health Center.

AEDC's Angel Tree Program was the biggest contributor for the Center for Families Development Relative Care Giver and Healthy Families programs. They serve more than 500 children in 10-12 counties in South Central Middle Tennessee.

Sue Fletcher, who is the director of South Central Relative Caregiver program, said, "No child left behind, is more than just education - Christmas is important too."

Centerstone's Children's Case Management program serves anywhere between 1,600-2,000 children across Middle Tennessee.

Andrea Lee, coordinator for the Children's Case Management Services, said "All of the presents received as part of the Angel Tree program provides for those in the lower economic status and also gives the only presents that some of these families will receive at all this Christmas."

Many employees have their own views for participating in projects like the Angel Tree Program. "It is a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas and be thankful for what you have, by giving a little to others," said Debbie Fraser, a network control center/help desk technician.

The center's 704th Maintenance Group went in together this year, contributing $300 worth of donations for the Angel Tree program. Lynn Armer explained that when the idea of sponsoring a child was pitched to them, the group was more than willing to contribute to the cause and did so without hesitation.