Snowmobile Marines Help Santa Claus in Alaska’s Remote Arctic | Lifestyles: food, home, health

Empire of Juneau (Alaska)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Snowmobile Marines helped Santa this month by delivering toys to boys and girls in the Alaskan Arctic.

The Marines traveled to Kotzebue, 884 kilometers northwest of Anchorage and 42 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, aboard a KC-130 operated by Okinawa-based Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 , in Japan.

From there, they took commercial flights and snowmobiles to bring toys to 2,500 children in 11 villages, the Juneau Empire reported.

Cpl. Brendan Mullin, who took photos of the event, could hear the children panting as a sailor Santa walked into a preschool class.

“When you can see the smile through the mask, you know it’s a big, genuine smile,” Mullin said.

Their joyous work was part of the Toys for Tots program run by the Marine Corps and a nonprofit foundation. Launched in 1947, the program now provides 18 million toys each year to 7 million less fortunate children.

“It’s really just for the benefit of the kids. The sparkle in the children’s eyes, it’s worth it, ”said Captain Keith G. Lowell, a Marine stationed in Anchorage who oversaw the mission in Alaska’s Northwestern Arctic Ward.

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