Agency employees continue Christmas tradition

By Ken MacNeven DLA Disposition Services

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For more than 30 years, Defense Logistics Agency employees and others at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center have donated time and money to make Christmas a little brighter for their community.

Working through the Battle Creek, Michigan, Salvation Army, agency employees adopt families to provide Christmas gifts and food for Christmas feasts. More people were supported in 2015 than last year, a total of 221 people, according to the DLA coordinator, Tiffany Schmidt of the Family & Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office operated by DLA Installation Support at Battle Creek.  Schmidt said that the 221 people were from 65 families plus 12 veterans living in the Silver Star apartments at the local Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“The Department of Defense has a long, rich history of supporting people around the year, especially over the holidays,” said DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon. “That’s especially true for those of us here in Battle Creek where we have been doing this for many years,” he said.

Cannon’s remarks were made at the Salvation Army Center, as cart loads of wrapped gifts and foodstuffs rolled in on carts, all marked with codes that designated which specific family would receive each cart’s contents.

He was joined by Don Phillips, DLA Installation Support at Battle Creek’s acting site director. “We’re very proud that the FMWR staff has played such a central role in organizing this great effort,” Phillips said.

The history of involvement of what is now the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in community giving for Christmas actually predates the existence of the Defense Logistics Agency and the center’s existence as a federal office complex.  It goes back to the Korean War when the federal center buildings were Percy Jones Army Hospital

Former Percy Jones staffer Connie Snyder visited the center during March 2015 and shared her memories about her work as a civilian broadcaster 63 years ago at the hospital’s radio station, WPJ.  She told the story of how she worked with hospital staff and patients at Christmas time to collect items for the Salvation Army to distribute  to Battle Creek families in need.