ALA Pilots, Part of Santa’s Posse

An empty, former Best Buy in Vancouver, Wash., became a hub of holiday activity last Thursday night as Santa’s Posse worked to fulfill Christmas wishes for 500 families in need.

For the second year, Alaska Airlines pilots, other employees from Alaska and Horizon, and their family members worked with local community groups to support this annual effort. The Clark County Santa’s Posse, a partnership between the county’s Rotary Clubs and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, collects and distributes toys and food to make Christmas special for less fortunate families.

Alaska pilots based in Portland became involved a year ago when Alaska Capt. Jay Haldeman was approached after speaking at a Rotary Club function. The club wanted to know if he and his fellow Alaska employees would help with the event. It went so well, Haldeman said, that the decision to come back a second year was an easy one to make.

Last week, the Alaska contingent had helped fill boxes with everything from canned fruit and vegetables to ham and cornbread mix. Three days later, on Sunday morning, more pilots helped to deliver those boxes to families.

“We believe in giving back,” said Haldeman, who was born and raised in Southwest Washington. “And now, there are hundreds of boxes of food and gifts going out to the people who live in our community.”