Cookie Caper: A coordinated effort to deliver holiday cheer

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tyrell Hall
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Goodfellow hosted the annual Cookie Caper event in which the base and local community donated cookies and delivered them to base members to celebrate the holidays, Dec. 8 to Dec. 10.

The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce and local businesses partnered with the 17th Training Wing to gather the cookies. Donations were accepted at the Chamber of Commerce and the base’s Consolidated Learning Center.

The Cookie Caper is a coordinated event organized by the base community each year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic kept the effort at bay during 2020. This year, Goodfellow was fortunate to bring back the event, which focuses on delivering holiday cheer to students and permanent party living in the dorms.

Mrs. Katie Reilman and retired Chief Master Sgt. Steven Arbona, 17th Training Wing command team spouses, led the charge in organizing and coordinating the base effort. It involved dozens of volunteers from multiple organizations from across the base. Organizations included: The chapel team, members of the Key Spouse Program, Airman and Family Readiness Center, and Protocol. 

The combined efforts of the base and surrounding community led to the donation of over 20,000 cookies. In the end, over 5,300 bags were assembled for distribution.

“As a kid many people think about home-cooked cookies with family,” said Arbona. “With the Cookie Caper we want to introduce members to a new family and remind them of those holiday family feelings.”

“In the past, the bags were normally distributed on Exodus as the students were leaving the base,” said Reilman. “But we wanted this to be more about them having something during this holiday season and give organizations an opportunity to connect with one another.”

Leaders from units across Goodfellow set out during the week to deliver cookies to dorm residents and connect with them. Active duty members were met with smiling faces and holiday greetings as unit and wing leadership delivered them cookies.

“There are holiday efforts happening all around the world, this is just one way we can say ‘we care’,” said Arbona. “Even if the students don’t know exactly who the cookies are coming from, they know that there’s someone out there who cares about them.”

“This community absolutely loves our military family,” said Reilman. “We want to show the students that the community cares about them and is ready to support them.”

The 17th Training Wing thanks the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and local community for their contributions and efforts. They make the holidays a little brighter for the service members at Goodfellow AFB.