It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s Santa in a helicopter.
Augusta Regional Airport scheduled a special flight for jolly old Saint Nicholas to fly in to visit with children and families from Safe Homes of Augusta, Hope House and the Cumbee Center on Saturday morning.
After landing, Santa joined families inside an airport hangar for Chick-fil-A biscuits and, of course, cookies and hot cocoa. Children joined him aboard his sleigh to put in their requests for gifts.
Safe Homes employee Leah Layman’s 7-year-old nephew, Fredy Layman, asked Santa for a Stretch Armstrong and Vac-Man, the stretchable action figure’s nemesis.
Layman brought her niece and two nephews, but she couldn’t help getting into the spirit of Christmas and hopped into Santa’s sleigh for a photograph.
“I could almost tear up right now just talking about it, but when I see Santa, I get all emotional,” she said. “I guess because it was such a good memory as a child.”
Representatives from Phinizy Swamp Nature Park provided arts and crafts for children and the airport helped them decorate their own stockings. For children who could handle an even bigger project, Home Depot on Bobby Jones Expressway provided supplies for children to build their own wooden toolbox similar to the projects it provides at its stores each month.
“This is a great thing to get involved in. This is our third year doing this,” Randy Parker, workshop captain at the Home Depot on Bobby Jones Expressway.
Airport communications manager Lauren Smith said this is just one of the community outreach projects for the airport. They are currently planning an Easter egg hunt and frequently give tours to groups. Employees of the airport also assist with activities with Safe Homes, Hope House, the Cumbee Center and other organizations, Smith said.
“We’re just always trying to think of different things we can do,” she said.