Several years ago a physician, I understand, in Bemidji MN decided to buy presents for children who find themselves in a hospital in Minnesota. He began the Tree of Hope organization in Minnesota, but it fell into disarray after several years. The torch was picked up again several years ago by the Minnesota 99's women's aviation organization and it was revived, counting on pilots in MN to contribute gifts. Gifts were flown in, wx permitting, to the Maple Lake KMGG airport, were sorted according to target age, and then were taken to hospitals across the state. The Minnesota Pilots Association approached the Tree of Hope leaders and asked if we could lend a helping hand and boy-Oh-boy things took off!

Last year Santa flew in to help with the event, and we had a good turnout of pilots, but this year the MN Pilots Assn outdid ourselves and the weather was perfect for the fly in to KMGG! Hundreds of gifts were donated and will be distributed to 35 hospitals across the state. Santa flew his super cub in again (minimally decorated) and helped the line guys park airplanes and carry gifts into the hangar. It was a terrific success, as MN Pilot Assn members and EAA chapters from across the state contributed.

Two youngsters took time to put together the following video, and it captures the life of one teddy bear, as he/she went from toy store to a hospital bed. You will even see Santa and his super cub at 2:45 into the video.

Please take a moment to visit the Tree of Hope-MN Facebook page...

Here are a few photos from the event!

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I really hope you can take this idea and apply it in YOUR state. It is a wonderful way for aviators and aviation enthusiasts to "give back" to our communities and a great excuse to get together. I can put you in touch with the organizers, should you want to learn more.

Merry Christmas!

Randy, one of Santa's Many Helpers