COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The annual Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Holiday Open House was held in person on Dec. 8, following a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols.
As part of their annual holiday festivities, the Land and Maritime Command team traditionally held their open house in the Defense Supply Center Columbus Building 20 Operations Center command suite. However, this year the decision was made to modify the event and move the festivities outdoors.
To adhere to all safety regulations and social distancing guidelines in place, the event was transformed into a COVID-friendly drive-through behind the bollards of Building 20. This provided each DLA associate an opportunity to attend to meet with the Command team, have a photo taken with DLA Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. Kristen Fabry, receive holiday goodies and cheer.
Holiday music and light snow added to the ambiance as associates either drove or walked by each of the four highly decorated stations decked out with lights, holiday trees, homemade snowflakes, wreaths, sleighs, presents and more.
“Despite all the difficulties and challenges, we continue to face while operating in this ongoing COVID-19 environment, it was important to me, to try and provide some sense of normalcy and create an opportunity for us to simply say thank you to our workforce and to wish them a very happy holiday this year,” Fabry said.
Upon arriving to open house festivities, associates were greeted by DLA Land and Maritime Director of Operations Griff Warren along with his wife, Cindy, who presented each associate with a Happy Holidays card on behalf of the Land and Maritime Command.
The second station featured DLA Land and Maritime Chief of Staff Air Force Col. Christopher Tooman and his wife, retired Air Force Col. Kimberley Tooman, who were wishing everyone a happy holiday season and passing out candy canes. As the newest member of the command staff, Tooman not only saw the event as a way to improve morale, but as an excellent opportunity for him to meet a larger portion of the workforce in a safe and socially distanced manner for the first time.
“I think it’s great having the opportunity to get out here, not to just say happy holidays, but to say thank you to our workforce for all their hard work, serving our country and our Warfighters, day in and day out throughout the year,” Tooman said.
“Being able to provide a safe atmosphere, where we can socially distance ourselves, and yet, really show our genuine appreciation for what our people are doing, without losing that personal touch, is what this is really all about. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be out here,” he added.
After the second stop, associates traveled along to the third station that featured DLA Land and Maritime Acquisition Executive Mark Brown, and his wife Gail, who were dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Claus. They were passing out cookies along with happy holiday blessings to each associate that passed through.
The fourth station on the holiday drive-through revealed DLA Land and Maritime Deputy Commander Kenneth Watson, his wife Jill, and their two children, who were decked out from head to toe in apparel reminiscent of Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit. Having appeared to have leapt from the pages of Charles Dickens’ famous novella A Christmas Carol, the Watson’s stayed busy distributing warm cups of cider, genuine thank yous and holiday greetings to associates.
At the final stop on the holiday drive-through, associates were greeted by cinematic legend, Buddy the Elf, from the movie “Elf” played by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Kyle Huston, who happily greeted associates before providing them with an opportunity to meet Fabry and her husband, Tim.
Fabry took time to chat with each associate thanking them for their commitment to the Warfighter and offered a happy holiday blessing. Before each associate departed, Fabry would light-heartedly offer them a serving of Buddy the Elf’s famous Breakfast Spaghetti, and then gave each an opportunity to pose for an official holiday photograph with Buddy the Elf and the Fabrys.
“We weren’t able to do this last year, and I genuinely missed having the opportunity to wish our associates a happy holiday season and reflect on our blessings in one another’s company. It has been an honor to be able to serve alongside the men and women here at Land and Maritime, and I look forward to what the New Year will bring,” Fabry added.