Through the Lens: Santa to the Villages

Since 1974, Kodiak-based Coast Guard crews have been bringing holiday cheer, presents, books and warm garments to children in the remote villages on Kodiak Island, and the tradition continues this year. Santa, along with his helpers, visited the villages of Ouzinkie, Port Lions, Danger Bay, Karluk, Larsen Bay, Akhiok and Chiniak, aboard Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk and HH-65 Dolphin helicopters.

The Spouse’s Association of Kodiak organizes the event and works year round to support it by working with schools, tribal councils and the community of Kodiak City to raise funds and collect donations. The residents not only receive gifts, but also free eye exams offered by the Coast Guard.

The following photos are from Air Station Kodiak’s visit to the villages of Karluk and Larsen Bay.

Santa, along with his elves and Air Station Kodiak aircrews prepare for an early morning takeoff for a Santa to the Villages outreach event Dec. 9, 2015.  Presents were delivered to the remote villages of Karluk and Lasren Bay on Kodiak Island.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

Santa, along with his elves and Air Station Kodiak aircrews prepare for an early morning takeoff.

Santa secures presents after landing at an airstrip to the remote Kodiak Island village of Karluk for a Santa to the Villages outreach event Dec. 9, 2015.  Karluk is located 77 miles from the town of Kodiak and has a population of 37.   U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

Santa secures presents after landing at an airstrip to the remote Kodiak Island village of Karluk.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jessica Scott and Petty Officer 1st Class Obrien Starr-Hollow are greeted as they arrive at the Karluk schoolhouse for a Santa to the Villages outreach event Dec. 9, 2015. The Kodiak-based Coast Guard has been bringing Santa to the remote villages of Kodiak Island for 41 years.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jessica Scott and Petty Officer 1st Class Obrien Starr-Hollow are greeted as they arrive at the Karluk schoolhouse.

“The kids get extremely excited. They had a wonderful time and this is something they look forward to every year.”
-Judy Aaron, Chiniak school teacher.

Santa is greeted as the crews from Air Station Kodiak arrive at the Larsen Bay Airport for a Santa to Villages outreach event Dec. 9, 2015. Santa to the Villages is sponsored by the Coast Guard Spouses' Association of Kodiak as a way to bring holiday cheer to over 240 children in villages around Kodiak Island.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

Santa is greeted as the crews from Air Station Kodiak arrive at the Larsen Bay Airport.

Presents are brought into the Larsen Bay schoolhouse by Santa for a Santa to the Villages outreach event Dec. 9, 2015. Santa to the Villages volunteers work year round by coordinating with the rural schools, the community of Kodiak, Coast Guard Air Station and Base Kodiak, Coast Guard Cutter SPAR, and supporters to raise funds, collect donations, and coordinate Santa's deliveries of toys, Christmas stockings, hand-knitted wears, and books to the children of Kodiak Island remote villages.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

Presents are brought into the Larsen Bay schoolhouse by Santa.

“This event is a lot of fun for us and we look forward to it every year. We get to fly out to these communities and deliver Santa, his elves and the vision screeners. We get to bring a lot of joy and you get to see all the children excited to see the helicopters and see Santa. It’s very rewarding for us to be able to give back to the community and see the direct impacts of what we’re doing.”
-Lt. Leo Lake, MH-60 Jayhawk pilot.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Kimberly Quintilani gives a Larsen Bay student a free eye exam during a Santa to the Villages outreach event Dec. 9, 2015.  The Coast Guard and Coast Guard Spouses’ Association have provided eye exams and holiday cheer to the remote villages of Kodiak Island since 1974.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Kimberly Quintilani gives a Larsen Bay student an eye exam.

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Santa and his helpers hand out presents to the children of Larsen Bay with the help of Coast Guard members from Air Station and Base Kodiak.

The school children of Larsen Bay put on a holiday performance for Santa, his helpers and members of Air Station and Base Kodiak during a Santa to the Villages outreach event Dec. 9, 2015. The Coast Guard has been transporting Santa and his elves by boat and helicopter to the remote villages of Kodiak Island for 41 years.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

The schoolchildren of Larsen Bay put on a holiday performance for Santa, his helpers and members of Air Station and Base Kodiak.

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Residents of Larsen Bay pose for a group photo along with members of Air Station and Base Kodiak during the Santa to Villages outreach event.

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aircrews head back to the air station after a day of handing out gifts to children in the remote Kodiak Island villages of Karluk and Larsen Bay during a Santa to the Villages outreach event Dec. 9, 2015. The Santa to the Villages program has been in action for more than 40 years through the support of the Coast Guard Spouses' Association of Kodiak, Air Station and Base Kodiak and the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker.

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aircrews head back to the air station after a day of handing out gifts to children in the remote Kodiak Island villages of Karluk and Larsen Bay.

“This is very rewarding to the children and it’s amazing they get to see Santa flying in a helicopter. It’s a pleasure for us to give back to the community and it’s something that we find meaningful.”
-Cory Brose, Spouses’ Association of Kodiak member and chair to the Santa to the Villages event.

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