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2021 AEDC Angel Tree now underway

Chuck Kurtsinger, front, drops off gifts for the 2018 AEDC Angel Tree program while Arnold Air Force Base Medical Aid Station Chief Fred Kasper checks the number assigned to the gifts off the Angel Tree gift list. (U.S. Air Force photo by Bradley Hicks) (This image was altered by obscuring badges for security purposes)

An Arnold Engineering Development Complex team member delivers gifts for the AEDC Angel Tree drive at Arnold Air Force Base Dec. 6, 2018. The 2021 Angel Tree drive to provide gifts to less fortunate children in the area is now underway at Arnold AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Bradley Hicks)

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. --

Arnold Air Force Base personnel are being called upon to help make the holidays a little merrier for more than 200 less fortunate children in the area.

The 2021 Arnold Engineering Development Complex Angel Tree drive is now underway. Master Sgt. Anthony Velez, AEDC senior munitions inspector, is overseeing the Angel Tree effort this year at Arnold AFB, the headquarters of AEDC.

“Every child deserves to have a joyous holiday season, and thankfully there are plenty of generous individuals locally that are determined to ensure that happens,” Velez said.   

Through the program, Arnold personnel can sponsor “angels” from a list shared with the workforce and purchase gifts based on each angel’s listed wants, such as video games, dolls, building blocks and action figures, and needs, such as shirts, socks, shoes and coats. The angels are local children who may not otherwise receive Christmas gifts from family members due to their financial situations.

Those wishing to take part may sponsor as many angels as they wish by calling 931-454-6782. The AEDC Angel Tree drive is open to contractors across Arnold in accordance with company policy and, if required, supervisor approval.

Velez said many around Arnold have expressed an eagerness to help.

“I have received multiple requests on the details,” he said.

Gifts are to be delivered unwrapped and bagged together with the angel tag number found under the “Code” column of the Angel Tree list. Larger items do not have to be bagged but should be identified with the corresponding angel tag number. Larger items, such as bikes and wagons, should be assembled prior to drop off.

Gifts may be dropped off in the lobbies of buildings 100, 1099 or 1103 at Arnold AFB now until Dec. 6 at 8 a.m. The morning of Dec. 6 is also the deadline for sponsoring an angel this year.

More than 250 local children were on the list this year and some have already received sponsors.

“Arnold personnel have consistently delivered generosity with the Angel Tree program,” Velez said. “I am thankful that we can help children this season and for all who are able to help.”

Since the late 1990s, Angel Tree organizers at Arnold have worked with the Center for Family Development in Shelbyville. The base is among the area businesses and organizations that receive angel lists from the center. When the partnership began, there were around 30 children on the list provided to Arnold. As the number of people seeking support through the center has increased, so has the number of children in need of Angel Tree sponsorship.

Those with questions about the AEDC Angel Tree drive may call at 931-454-6782.

Disclaimer: The Angel Tree program is a private organization which is not part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and has no governmental status.