Coast Guard and Santa team up for a visit to Kodiak’s villages

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Chase Burningham, a marine science technician, waves aboard a helicopter as it circles over Larsen Bay, Alaska, on Dec. 5, 2022. (Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

Santa traded his sleigh for a Jayhawk helicopter and made a special visit to Kodiak’s villages earlier this month, as part of a decades-long Coast Guard tradition on the island.

It took six Santas, a team of elves and 14 Coast Guard pilots just over a week to deliver 2,000 pounds of gifts across the island for this year’s Santa to the Villages. 

That’s a Coast Guard tradition – now in its 46th year – when service members don Santa’s red suit and pass out gifts to kids. This year’s event was held between Nov. 28 to Dec. 7. It’s organized annually by the Coast Guard Spouse’s Association of Kodiak. 

It takes months of preparation beyond the week of dropping presents.

Santa’s elves drop off gifts to kids in Karluk, Dec. 5, 2022. (Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

“We start prepping around Thanksgiving for the following year,” said Katie Hamilton, a co-chair member of the SAK in a Coast Guard press release.

The group transformed an empty housing unit on the Coast Guard’s base into a makeshift Santa’s workshop to prepare for the event.

In total, 145 children in villages across the archipelago received toys, stockings, fruit, and books in this year’s gift drop – and were able to spend time with Santa himself during his visits to all of Kodiak’s villages.


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