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Airmen deliver holiday cheer to local children’s home

97th Operations Group (OG) members from Altus AFB, Altus. Okla. and residents of the Tipton Children Children’s Home in Tipton, Okla.

97th Operations Group (OG) members from Altus AFB, Altus. Okla. and residents of the Tipton Children Children’s Home in Tipton, Okla. gather for a group photo, Dec. 18, 2019. Members of the 97th OG gathered 63 gifts during their annual children’s Christmas party on Dec. 14. 2019, fulfilling the Christmas wish lists of all 35 children at the residential care facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Sizelove)

Chris Freeman, a resident of the Tipton Children’s Home, Tipton, Okla.

Chris Freeman, a resident of the Tipton Children’s Home, Tipton, Okla. opens a Christmas gift, Dec. 18, 2019. Members of the 97th Operations Group gathered 63 gifts during their annual children’s Christmas party on Dec. 14. 2019, fulfilling the Christmas wish lists of all 35 children at the residential care facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Sizelove)

U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Grace Tinkey, 97th Training Squadron student, talks with Synthia Freeman at the Tipton Children’s Home, Tipton. Okla.

U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Grace Tinkey, 97th Training Squadron student, talks with Synthia Freeman at the Tipton Children’s Home, Tipton. Okla. Dec. 18, 2019. Freeman was one of 35 children that received gifts donated by members of the 97th Operations Group (OG) during their annual children’s Christmas party on Dec. 14. 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Robert Sizelove)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Members of the 97th Operations Group at Altus, AFB, Okla. embraced the spirit of the season by donating and celebrating their annual children’s Christmas party on Dec. 14, 2019. Over 220 children attended the event and as part of the festivities, they gathered 63 gifts fulfilling the wish lists of 35 children at the Tipton Children’s Home, Tipton, Okla.

The Tipton Children’s Home is located just twenty minutes southeast of Altus AFB, where the staff and children of the home are accustomed to seeing mobility aircraft flying overhead.  

Joe Waugh, the Director of the Tipton Children’s Home, expressed that they love when people visit.

“We’re Tipton. We’re a small town. We don’t get a lot of visitors,” Waugh said. “The Tipton Children’s Home has been here for 95 years and we’ve helped over 4,000 children.”

The Tipton Children’s home was founded in 1924. It is 100% non-profit and receives no federal or state funding. With a capacity of 32 children (16 boys and 16 girls), the home accepts children from all over the state of Oklahoma, from the ages of 5 to 17.

“The home serves children whose parents can no longer take care of them and is an alternative to the state run foster care system,” Waugh said. “The kids are put here private placement [at the guardians’ request]. They’re all normal kids that just need a good home.”

“It’s a bittersweet event as this will be my last holiday here,” Rheaganne Horn, a resident of the children’s home, said. “I always look forward to it, opening the presents and getting to know everybody.”

Talking to the visitors from Altus AFB over the years has inspired Horn to join the Air Force herself.

“I want to be in nursing or the medical career field,” Horn said.

Another one of the participants, Airman First Class Grace Tinkey, a student assigned to the 97th Training Squadron said, “I didn’t know there were places like this in Oklahoma. It’s really cool to be able to bring these gifts, talk to the children and show them that they are supported and loved. It’s really awesome seeing the military and local community come together.”

The Tipton Children’s Home is always looking for help. For more information, please call 580-667-5221.