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Soldiers assist Salvation Army’s Santa’s Workshop 
By Army National Guard Maj. Anthony Somogyi, HAATS commander 
HAATS Toy Giveaway 

U.S. Army Maj. Anthony Somogyi, Colorado National Guard’s High-altitude Army National Guard Training Site commander, and Dan Smith, head of the Vail Mountain Rescue Group who is also a Salvation Army volunteer, stand in front of toys donated the Salvation Army’s Santa’s Workshop at HAATS Dec. 8, 2013 at the Eagle County Airport in Gypsum, Colo. HAATS Soldiers assisted in setting up and running the event while Smith was responsible for coordinating everything from getting the toys to determining the families involved, and also ran the distribution at HAATS Dec. 7 and 8. (U.S. Army photo provided by Maj. Anthony Somogyi/RELEASED)

GYPSUM, Colo. – Soldiers from the High-altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site teamed up with the Salvation Army Dec. 7-8 in order to provide toys for needy families in the Vail Valley.

2013 is the third year that the Salvation Army has sponsored families and been able to provide them two toys per child to make Christmas a little brighter.

The event was hosted at two locations, HAATS in Gypsum and Avon, and reached nearly 450 families in the local area. This equates to approximately 800 to 900 kids who will receive two toys each, which were purchased in wholesale lots by Vail Valley Cares.

Due to the volume of children in need, this business model was adopted because toy donation alone simply cannot reach these numbers.

With the help of the Vail Mountain Rescue Group, Eagle County Health and Human Services, and the Transportation Security Administration from the Eagle County Airport, approximately 180 families were helped at the HAATS facility alone Dec. 7 and 8.

Members of the Colorado Army National Guard unit located in Gypsum, Colo., and their spouses were all smiles as they helped their local community, said HAATS Executive Officer Army Capt. James Renfroe.