MAKE A WISH
By By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kimara Johnson, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 57 Public Affairs
Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 57 (VR-57) hosted their annual Make a Wish Foundation holiday party Dec. 4 at Naval Air Station North Island hosting seriously ill children and their families.
The squadron arranged the event held as part of the foundation's Season of Wishes aimed at celebrating 16 of the San Diego area's Make a Wish Foundation children and their families.
"This is the second time we have done this event," said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Buckley, a pilot and speaker at the event. "We held it last year and it was such a success that we wanted to do it again this year. I think we will keep doing it as long as the Make a Wish people want us to."
The group met in the squadron's Mass Briefing room and presented the theme for the day's event which was "Swapping Survival Stories." Buckley, a squadron member here, told his survival story about how 10 years ago he survived a plane crash after a bunch of ducks hit his right engine.
The next story came from a parent who told how her son Aidan Inman, diagnosed at age six has survived stage four neuroblastoma cancer and has always done so with a positive attitude and likes to just play through it. He is now seven years old and because of his "great spirit" and attitude, Aidan has become a Wish Ambassador.
"I just want to make sure other kids get to make wishes," said Aidan.
After swapping stories, the children were broken up in to groups and went to the ward room where they were inducted into the Navy for the day and given leather name patches. They then went down to the squadron's hangar bay where the children were allowed to tour five aircraft on display, talk to Navy SEALS, tour squadron spaces and try on survival equipment.
"I think it is good for the Navy. It helps make a positive impact on the community," said Buckley. "It shows we are out in the community and care about the community and want to help out."
"It is very emotional just being here and I know how lucky we are at this point in our lives, to be here to enjoy something like this, you know it is just incredible," said Vivian Shanks who's son Darren was diagnosed in January with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The Make a Wish kids were then escorted to an area in the hangar bay where they got a surprise visit from Santa Claus. The jolly one gave out presents and took pictures with the children.
"We are the largest wish granting organization in the world," said Alex Cano, community developer with the Make a Wish foundation. The foundation has been granting wishes since 1982 and grants about one wish every 40 minutes all over the world.