Richmond, Va. –
The holiday season can be tricky when it comes to Virginia weather. Like a polar vortex in reverse, warm weather made its appearance during the 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, Dec. 10. Despite the unseasonably mild temperatures, nearly 400 Defense Logistics Agency military and civilian employees and military members from other organizations on the installation were still able to experience what the Bensley Elementary School’s fifth-grade chorus sang about: “This Magic Season.”
In a tradition that spans over 30 years, students brought joy – and a welcomed midday break – as they serenaded onlookers with songs that suited the season. The cheery set included songs like “Better Bundle Up” and “Just One Candle” that blended seamlessly not only with the event’s theme but also, in some ways, with the commander’s message to attendees.
DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. David Sanford reminded the audience to keep the spirit of the holiday in mind as they celebrated. “The holiday time of year is about family, fellowship, helping our neighbor and being thankful,” Sanford said. “Regardless of your faith or religion, we should give thanks for all the blessings we hold within our lives, and not ever take any of them for granted.”
This year’s ceremony was the first for Sanford as installation commander. “The tree lighting ceremony is a beloved tradition at Defense Supply Center Richmond. I am so excited to be sharing this moment with you all,” he said.
Bensley Elementary School Principal Dr. Patrice Wilson also spoke at the ceremony, greeting the workforce and thanking them for their generosity to the community and to the school’s Angel Tree program.
As a treat for the young chorus and children in the audience, Santa Ray Bowles, a member from the Loyal Order of the Moose, and DLA Installation Management Richmond’s Sparky, the fire dog, were on hand to greet everyone and pass out candy canes.
Sanford’s address included a hearty thanks to the men and women working at DLA Aviation as well as those deployed around the world. He also reminded attendees to be safe during the season. “We want everyone back for the new year — there’s just too much work to do without you!”