Fort Riley, Kansas



97th Military Police Battalion shares meal with Mr. Claus

By Chris Cannon | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | December 16, 2016

     The morning of Dec. 10 was a cold one when Santa stopped by to visit the Soldiers and families of the 97th Military Police Battalion during their second annual break­fast with Santa Claus and Christmas party. As Santa entered the room, he stopped to greet each one of the 28 children eagerly wait­ing for him as they ate a break­fast of fruit, doughnuts and hugs. For each child, there was a stocking full of candy and a picture as a reminder of his visit.

      The party was hosted by Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Counts, senior noncommis­sioned officer of the 97th MP Bn. and his wife, Birget. Chil­dren decorated paper plate wreaths, cardboard Christmas trees and brown paper gin­gerbread men with gold pipe cleaners, yarn, aluminum foil and felt pom-poms after breakfast with a hug.

      Surrounded by carols sung by Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, Bing Crosby and many others, more than 40 Soldiers and spouses were able to enjoy a good conversation, a warm breakfast and relaxation at the festively decorated tables.

      Many of the Soldiers who attended the event helped with the crafts as they smiled and laughed while watching Santa visit with the kids..

      “I had a good time today,” said Spc. Heath Herman Luong, 300th MP Company, 97th MP Bn., as he helped one of the chil­dren wrap green yarn around a cardboard Christmas tree.

     “This was a good time to get the families and the kids out to meet each other,” said Counts. “It builds trust be­tween the families and com­munities, and it is a good way to invest back into the families who support their Soldiers when they are separated by the mission… You have to give Soldiers and families some­thing to be proud of,” he said.

     The Christmas party was an investment into the bat­talion. According to Counts, each member of the battalion contributed to making the party possible with Christmas decorations from their own personal collections or by pur­chasing items then donating it to the battalion’s collection.