Santa Flies with Special Kids

Santa brought smiles to the faces of children waiting to greet him as he arrived in a Jazz Dash 8. For decades, Jazz has been flying Santa (this year, flight attendant Mike Griffiths) and children from Canuck Place and other local charities on a series of flights over downtown Victoria and Vancouver.

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice provides specialized palliative care for children with life-threatening illnesses and support for their families throughout British Columbia.

Jazz pilots Capt. Mike Gatey and his wife, F/O Jane Etzkorn, piloted one of this year’s flights.

“Jane and I have been blessed with a wonderful life together, a son we are proud of, and great careers,” said Gatey. “We were very pleased to be able to give a little back. The smiles on the faces of the children who rode with us was something that money can’t buy.”

Jazz pilots who fly the B-757 for Thomas Cook flew a similar trip to the North Pole. F/O Brian Macdonnell, who assisted with the event, said, “As a father of two, I can’t imagine the courage of these young children and their families.

“It was my absolute pleasure to volunteer with Capt. Ron Grimberg, the operating crew of Capt. Bob Perkins and F/O Tom Hill, the terrific in-flight crew, and the other volunteers who allowed us to intercept Santa! It was one of the most memorable days of my 16 years at Jazz,” he added.

Jazz pilots are proud to be part of these gestures, which bring happiness in the spirit of the holidays.