On Dec. 9 at 8 a.m., 25 volunteer pilots of the Utah Wing of Angel Flight West departed South Valley Regional Airport on their annual Santa Flight.
Their destination was Manti, where they delivered toys, school supplies, books, backpacks and warm clothing to the 400-plus children at Manti Elementary School.
Ten Eagle Scout candidates and one Girl Scout from the Salt Lake area (McKay Ashby, Joey Frank, Ethan Greene, Donovan Jones, Jaxon Blackham, Amanda Rossi, Johnny West, Brandon Torres, Brandon Colemere, Nick Lange, Alex England ) have used this as their Eagle Scout Service Project.
They have gathered donated school supplies, winter coats and toys based on the needs of the school.
The students from Manti Elementary were bused to the airport to greet the pilots.
Santa, Mrs. Claus and two elves arrived on the last plane.
The local National Guard unloaded the planes and transported the items to the school.
There was an assembly at the school where the students serenaded Santa and his team and thanked the scouts and pilots.
Since the first Santa Flight in 2000, the members of the Utah Wing have worked with their local communities to gather needed supplies and toys and deliver them to Title One Schools in rural communities throughout Utah.
Steve Bollinger, AFW UT Wing Leader, Phil Titus, AFW Outreach Coordinator, and the Scout Leaders have worked on this project since September.
Bollinger said the partnership between AFW and the Scouts has been critical in the success of this project.
As with every Angel Flight mission, the pilots donate their time, talent, airplanes, fuel and operating expenses.