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Children light Peterson holiday tree

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Staff Sgt. Robert Gerry Jr., 21st Space Wing Fire Department, assists Santa as he arrives at the Peterson Chapel. Santa took time out from his busy schedule to spend time with the good girls and boys at the base tree lighting ceremony Dec. 6. The event also featured photos with Santa, holiday music, refreshments, first responder display booths and a booth to make holiday cards to send to deployed troops. (U.S. Air Force photo/Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Staff Sgt. Robert Gerry Jr., 21st Space Wing Fire Department, assists Santa as he arrives at the Peterson Chapel. Santa took time out from his busy schedule to spend time with the good girls and boys at the base tree lighting ceremony Dec. 6. The event also featured photos with Santa, holiday music, refreshments, first responder display booths and a booth to make holiday cards to send to deployed troops. (U.S. Air Force photo/Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Col. Michael Hough, 21st Space Wing vice commander, and a group of children light the base holiday tree at the Peterson Chapel Dec. 6. The event also featured photos with Santa, holiday music, refreshments, first responder display booths and a booth to make holiday cards to send to deployed troops. (U.S. Air Force photo/Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Col. Michael Hough, 21st Space Wing vice commander, and a group of children light the base holiday tree at the Peterson Chapel Dec. 6. The event also featured photos with Santa, holiday music, refreshments, first responder display booths and a booth to make holiday cards to send to deployed troops. (U.S. Air Force photo/Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Master Sgt. Jeremy Raine, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight, demonstrates the flight’s robot to kids attending the tree lighting Dec. 6 at the chapel. The event featured photos with Santa, holiday music, refreshments, first responder display booths and a booth to make holiday cards to send to deployed troops. (U.S. Air Force photo/Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Master Sgt. Jeremy Raine, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight, demonstrates the flight’s robot to kids attending the tree lighting Dec. 6 at the chapel. The event featured photos with Santa, holiday music, refreshments, first responder display booths and a booth to make holiday cards to send to deployed troops. (U.S. Air Force photo/Craig Denton)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- With the flick of a giant candy cane-shaped switch, the Peterson holiday tree sprang to life during the base tree lighting Dec. 6 at the base chapel.

Despite frigid temperatures, more than 80 parents and children from the Team Pete community came out to take part in the event. But before the tree could be lit, they remembered those who sacrifice every day.

"The discussion highlighted the hard work of first responders who are often working during the holidays, as well as our deployed service members around the world who cannot be with their families," said Lt. Col. Timothy Porter, 21st Space Wing chaplain.

It was a moment to reflect and show thanks to those serving our community both here and abroad, especially during the holiday season.

"The vice wing commander, Col. Michael Hough highlighted the 1,135 Team Pete service members who have been deployed over the past year and those who are currently deployed," said Porter.

The crowd then braved the cold, and with the help of the vice wing commander, lit the tree. Afterward they returned inside for hot chocolate and cookies, and awaited the man of the hour, jolly old Saint Nicholas, who arrived with help from the Peterson fire department. Children were able to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas, as well as have their picture taken with him.

While they waited, the children colored thank you pictures that would be sent to deployed service members, and explored three Peterson AFB first responder displays.

"EOD had the robot and the kids got to play with it. The fire department had a bunch of firefighting gear on display and little plastic firemen's hats for the kids to take home. Security forces also provided a display of gear used in their line of work," said Porter.

Special thanks was given to the Airmen from the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron for working outside in the bitter cold in the days before the event to wrap the tree in lights, making sure it was ready for when the children arrived.

"The electrical shop did a great job setting up the tree and making sure that everything would work when it was lit," Porter said.

The tree will be lit throughout the holiday season and can be seen at the corner of Vincent Street and Stewart Avenue, just outside of the chapel.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui