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Vandenberg hosts Texas Blowout event

Members of the 30th Operations Support Squadron prepare to launch a cow pie from a trebuchet during the 27th annual Texas Blowout event, July 31, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The family friendly event featured a barbeque, car show, children’s games and other activities that encouraged base members to relax and build camaraderie, all in preparation for Operation Kids Christmas – an annual event which supports hundreds of underprivileged children from surrounding communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shane Phipps/Released)

Members of the 30th Operations Support Squadron prepare to launch a cow pie from a trebuchet during the 27th annual Texas Blowout event, July 31, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The family friendly event featured a barbeque, car show, children’s games and other activities that encouraged base members to relax and build camaraderie, all in preparation for Operation Kids Christmas – an annual event which supports hundreds of underprivileged children from surrounding communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shane Phipps/Released)

Airman 1st Class Robert Volio, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, admires a classic car during a car show at the 27th annual Texas Blowout event, July 31, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The family friendly event featured a barbeque, car show, children’s games and other activities that encouraged base members to relax and build camaraderie, all in preparation for Operation Kids Christmas – an annual event which supports hundreds of underprivileged children from surrounding communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shane Phipps/Released)

Airman 1st Class Robert Volio, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, admires a classic car during a car show at the 27th annual Texas Blowout event, July 31, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The family friendly event featured a barbeque, car show, children’s games and other activities that encouraged base members to relax and build camaraderie, all in preparation for Operation Kids Christmas – an annual event which supports hundreds of underprivileged children from surrounding communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shane Phipps/Released)

Airman 1st Class Joseph Weiler, 30th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, looks at gift baskets during the 27th annual Texas Blowout event, July 31, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The family friendly event featured a barbeque, car show, children’s games and other activities that encouraged base members to relax and build camaraderie, all in preparation for Operation Kids Christmas – an annual event which supports hundreds of underprivileged children from surrounding communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shane Phipps/Released)

Airman 1st Class Joseph Weiler, 30th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, looks at gift baskets during the 27th annual Texas Blowout event, July 31, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The family friendly event featured a barbeque, car show, children’s games and other activities that encouraged base members to relax and build camaraderie, all in preparation for Operation Kids Christmas – an annual event which supports hundreds of underprivileged children from surrounding communities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shane Phipps/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE Calif. -- In an effort to prepare for Operation Kids Christmas, the 381st Training Group recently hosted the 27th annual Texas Blowout event, at Cocheo Park, July 31.

The family friendly event featured a barbeque, car show, children's games and other activities that encouraged base members to relax and build camaraderie, all in preparation for Operation Kids Christmas - an annual event which supports hundreds of underprivileged children from surrounding communities.

"Texas Blowout is for Operation Kids Christmas," said Capt. Robert Odell, 532nd Training Squadron Intercontinental Ballistic Missile operations instructor. "Each year, 200 underprivileged children from the surrounding communities are selected to attend the day-long event where the children receive toys, a personal escort for the day and have a memorable holiday experience."

Vandenberg's track record of consistently supporting such a charitable cause, for more than five decades, has bolstered relations with local communities.

"We have been hosting Operation Kids Christmas here at VAFB for 57 years," said Paulette Taylor, 381st TRG chief of protocol. "It gets local news coverage, and in the past we have had people come back as adults, who attended the event when they were children. It really leaves people with a positive experience."

Event coordinators relish the opportunity to be involved in such a charitable cause and attribute the event's success to all the volunteers.

"My overall goal for the event was to support Operation Kids' Christmas while still creating a fun day of family friendly events," said Odell. "We are an integral part of the community and this is one way we are able to show our support. By working with our community partners, we are able to accomplish far more than we could as individuals. I feel honored to be a part of this and to be able to work with the incredible team members who have dedicated so much of their personal time and resources to ensure the event is a success."

For senior leadership, the Texas Blowout is an essential observance for the continued success of the time-honored Operation Kids Christmas event. 

"This year we will be celebrating the 57th Operation Kids Christmas," said Col. Max Lantz, 381st TRG commander. "It's one of those very special events where the volunteers sign up knowing it's all about the children having an opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime experience - and it is, but the volunteers also walk away being truly uplifted. Their hearts are touched by the pure joy of childhood wonderment and everything that is good about humanity. That's why (it) has been an enduring tradition that brings the men and women of Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the local communities together each year."