In keeping the holiday spirit alive, a caravan of 14 airplanes packed with toys for less fortunate children flew from the Redlands Municipal Airport to meet U.S. Marine Corps Reserve personnel at Twentynine Palms Saturday.
Their mission was to get more than 500 new toys to the Toys for Tots program, according to a news release from the Redlands Airport Association.
Dennis Brown, flight instructor, led the caravan dressed as Santa in his Pitts-S2 biplane with a large 4-foot tall teddy bear in the front seat.
Staff Sgt. Jason Slye, Toys for Tots coordinator, and his staff from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms met the enthusiastic group at the Twentynine Palms airport and graciously accepted the toys, according to the release.
Marines supporting the Toys for Tots program will distribute the toys personally at several locations throughout the Inland Empire, according to the release.
Event organizer Cindy Gablin and her husband Ted — both officers of the Redlands Airport Association — kicked off the collection drive with an open house at the Redlands Airport on Oct. 24.
“It was wonderful to see the community come together and support such a wonderful cause,” said Ingrid Biglow, an aviation enthusiast and chair of the Redlands Airport Advisory Board in the news release.
The group also raised $500, which was given to Slye to buy more toys for disadvantaged children.