An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Get into the holiday spirit!

  • Published
  • By Col. Mike Hornitschek
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
One of the things I like best about this time of year is the holiday spirit that makes the spring in our step a little lighter and the doors to our hearts a little wider.

Just the other day, a Salvation Army bell ringer at a local department store was dancing and smiling and those who passed by could not help but enjoy his enthusiasm as they tossed a few bills into the bucket. The 60-degree weather may have played a role in the big smile, but it's that kind of celebratory behavior that causes a positive ripple effect to all those around.

It's great to see that kind of enthusiasm at Team Scott as hundreds of volunteers collect and donate toys, money and food for those less fortunate. Members of our community not only donated generously to the Combined Federal Campaign, but also continue to contribute to worthy causes during this season.

Many random acts of kindness are being performed, one of which is the OSC-led annual cookie drop for our troops. Amazing bakers from Team Scott and our community friends in Belleville bake for days to donate their delicious home-made treats. We literally receive over 10,000 cookies each year that we're able to share with our young service members in the dorms.

There's also the Angel Tree at the Exchange where people can pick a name of a child and donate a gift to him or her and our own bell ringers who raise money for families in need not only through the holidays, but year round, too.

And, it's not just our folks doing good for others. We receive from many generous people and organizations outside of Scott such as the recently delivered Christmas trees for 300 of our families. We sincerely thank organizations such as the USO and Trees for Troops who support us every year with this awesome gift.

So many people want to just have Airmen in their home and offer up meals or to share the holidays with a single serviceman or woman who's far from home. We really have wonderful people in the communities who want to show their appreciation for your service. That is such a great feeling to know that you are welcomed and supported.

Another thing I enjoy are the lights that are on display. I managed to set up our own small display over Thanksgiving, and I know how much work that takes (burned out bulbs drive me crazy!). So imagine a home fully covered in lights, or a business or church or an Air Force base that goes all out with lights! It's such a treat, and it's great to take the family to these places to view the nighttime magic such as the free lights at the St. Louis Zoo.

Music is also tops on my list, and we just saw another incredible show performed by the outstanding U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America when they performed at the new Mascoutah High School. These musicians are top notch and they play all the favorites plus a few of their own renditions. They have several more concerts, so be sure to check out their holiday performances at

We live is such a vibrant community that there is literally something to do every night this month if you wanted! Sometimes the hardest choice is to say no, and stay home instead. From school plays and concerts to parades and home tours, there's no reason why we can't find a way to catch the spirit of the season! We can certainly take a look at the things that matter most around us--our friends and family--and use this time of year to focus on showing our gratitude to them for all they do and for who they are. Enjoy this time of year and don't wait til the last minute to catch the spirit of it all!