TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Nearly 300 Reservists and Guardsmen raised $40,181 at the 24th Annual Operation Holiday Spirit Steak Supper Dec. 2, 2022.
The fundraiser proceeds were donated to 25 guard and reserve families in need this holiday season, thanks for the help of all donors including the team from Frankfurt Short Bruza, Mr. Ralph “Hawk” Hawkins, former 513th Air Control Group executive officer and Joe Wade, 507th Air Refueling Wing director of facilities, among others.
Wade, who has been a part of the event since 2007, said he enjoys participating and helps by collecting donations, selling tickets and organizing the online, silent and live auctions to benefit airmen from the 507th ARW and 513th Air Control Group at Tinker AFB and the 137th Special Operations Wing at Will Rogers World Airport.
“It's important to me that all of our efforts directly benefit our members in need,” said Wade, who was an auctioneer this year. “Helping others always puts a smile on my face.”
507th ARW wing first sergeant, Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Scoles, said there was a huge turnout of first sergeants from the wing and the 137th SOW at Will Rogers at this year’s event who helped make an impact on the lives of their wingmen.
“We have Reserve families that have challenges every year,” said Scoles. “This great program gives complete support to all of our members who need it the most.”
513th Operations Support Squadron first sergeant Senior Master Sgt. Lindsay Newton, explained the need for support during the holidays.
“It can be a tough time for some,” said Newton. “If you or someone you know is having a rough time, please reach out. Commanders, first sergeants, senior enlisted leaders, supervisors and peers are available if anyone needs help. We have ample resources for assistance.”
Since OHS began in 1999, the program has assisted 529 Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard families during the holidays. The steak supper event has had 5,244 attendees since 1999.
The Del City Legion on SE 24th St. has hosted the event since 2012, and the former Del City VFW building off of Sunnylane Blvd. hosted the event from 2003 to 2011. Prior to that, it was held on base at the Prime Beef building near the AF Reserve campus.
The 137th Special Operations Wing (formerly 137th Air Refueling Wing) joined OHS in 2008 and has been a major partner in the program ever since
The live auction items this year included a Buffalo Bills helmet with 10 autographs, an Arizona Cardinals jersey autographed by quarterback Kyler Murray, a Dallas Cowboys helmet autographed by tight end Blake Jarwin, a guitar autographed by Toby Keith, a University of Oklahoma jersey autographed by former quarterback Baker Mayfield, a University of Oklahoma helmet autographed by former wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and an autographed baseball by former MLB player Matt Kemp.
The menu at the steak dinner consisted of a ribeye steak from locally-owned Wheeler’s meat market cooked to order along with a baked potato, vegetables, a salad, a roll and a slice of cheesecake for dessert.
For more information on the program, please visit https://holidayspirit.org