Chapel, Clovis community make holidays brighter for single Airmen

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- “It was pretty bad,” said Mr. Al Jolly to a roomful of Airmen at the chapel Dec. 15, recalling his first Christmas in the military at Cannon.

He was a young Airmen back in the 1950s and described the isolation and loneliness he felt to the audience of young Airmen. That Christmas was something he didn’t wish on anyone.

Now single Airmen at Cannon celebrate the holidays with a turkey dinner at the annual Single Airman’s Holiday Dinner, thanks to the efforts of base chapel staff and the contributions from the Committee of 50 from Clovis.

The goal of the event is to “bless the dorm-dwelling Airmen who cannot go home for the holidays,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Donald Bridges.

When Airmen arrived, they received a ticket stub and as they were enjoying a Christmas dinner with all the fixings, numbers were called out. Some won PlayStations, others won X-boxes or MP3 players and there was even a 27-inch television that made it back to the dorms.

In all, 28 big-ticket prizes went out the door, virtually all donated by the Committee of 50.
Mr. Jolly got the Committe of 50 to take on the annual holiday dinner project and the group was vital in organizing the event along with Chaplain Bridges and the base chapel staff.
The Committee is part of the Clovis Chamber of Commerce and is comprised of businessmen in the area. The committee also serves as a liaison between Clovis and Cannon.