Team Vance bakes holiday cookies for deployed warriors

  • Published
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The smell of more than 1,600 holiday cookies and the feeling of family filled the Community Chapel Activity Center this morning during Operation Cookie Cutter 2016.

Volunteers, under the direction of Master Sgt. Jessica Newton, Melody Pankonin and Nikki Clark, baked and packed six dozen cookies, a bag of candy, greetings from elementary-school students and a copy of the Airscoop newspaper into 23 separate packages.

By afternoon, the packages were mailed to Team Vance’s deployed and remotely assigned Airmen around the world.

Newton, Pankonin and Clark are with the Airman & Family Readiness Center. The volunteers came from across Team Vance.

“Some of the cookies were baked and brought to the CCAC this morning,” said Newton. Other folks donated cookie dough that bakers like Airman 1st Class Abby Mercado with the 71st Installation Support Squadron, turned into holiday greetings for Vance Airmen away from home this holiday season.

“I like to bake,” said Mercado, “and my sister Jessica is also in the Air Force and she is overseas this year.”

The candy in each box came from the Halloween stash of Col. Dwayne LaHaye, the 71st Mission Support Group commander.

Holiday greetings were hand-made by students at Eisenhower Elementary School on base and Hoover Elementary School in Enid, just north of Vance AFB.

The Airscoop newspaper, a weekly civilian publication distributed on Vance, was included to give the deployed Airmen a little piece of home.

The 23 boxes were delivered to the downtown Enid post office, postage paid by local Chapter 214 of the Air Force Association.

The smell of baking cookies will fill the CCAC again Dec. 14 when Team Vance spouses fire up the ovens for their holiday Single Airmen Cookie Drive.