Operations

Operation HOHOHO a Go

Santa and his elves arrived in style on a CH-146 Griffon helicopter at the Kingston General Hospital on Friday, Dec. 2, to spread holiday cheer to the hospital’s youngest patients.

As part of Operation HOHOHO, members of 1 Wing Headquarters in Kingston, ON, delivered 50 teddy bears to children admitted to the hospital over the holiday season.

“The aim of Operation HOHOHO is to raise spirits and give back to the community by flying to a local hospital to deliver gifts and connect with the young patients and their families during the holiday season,” stated a public service announcement (PSA) from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

“Elves” from 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, located at Canadian Forces Base Borden, Ontario, load a CH-146 Griffon helicopter with toys bound for the Hospital for Sick Children during Operation Ho Ho Ho on December 14, 2016. The initiative to bring holiday cheer to children who must be in SickKids Hospital over the Christmas season has been running for 13 years. From left to right are Aviator Paul Wilson, Captain Jeffery Pollard, Ordinary Seaman Christopher Anderson, Corporal Martin Hamel, Aviator William Rittershofer, Master Corporal Jason Merner, Major Laura Laycock, Aviator Daniel Rodrigues, Corporal Jesse MacIlroy and Captain Karmen Hill. Photo by: Corporal Lindsay Neifer. Image courtesy of Canadian Armed Forces.

Delivering Cheer

After months of preparation and collecting funds, a few chosen members from 1 Wing Kingston jumped aboard the CH-146 Griffon helicopter on Friday morning. The helicopter arrived from 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron based out of Saint-Hubert, Quebec.

After arriving at the hospital, Santa and his elves visited the NICU, Pediatrics, Pediatric Oncology and Burr 4, handing out bears and spreading smiles along the way.

“We always want to give back to our local community members and support local charities when and if possible,” said Maj. Robert Oikle, Deputy Commanding Officer, 1 Wg Hq.

Operation HoHoHo was inspired by its 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Borden, ON, which has a long and storied tradition of visiting the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto during the holiday season.

A Storied Tradition

The wing in Kingston has been participating in Operation HOHOHO, which has become an annual tradition. It was inspired by its 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Borden, ON, which has a long and storied tradition of visiting the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto during the holiday season.

“It just morphed from that into something that we wanted to do. We wanted to get involved,” said Oikle.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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