Two local veterans joined forces with the CEO of Ramm hospitality, a company with hotels across Bakersfield, for the second year in a row to bring a little holiday cheer to those who put their lives at risk for us.
“I thought I was just coming for breakfast, I didn’t know Santa was going to be here, so it was a nice surprise,” said Brooke Martinez, one of veteran’s daughter.
A special surprise for five veteran families.
“This time of year is really hard, whether you have family here or not,” said Joshua Conner, one of the veterans responsible for putting the event together. “We’ve all missed holidays, it’s a hard time for us and sometimes veterans transitioning back to civilian life can’t afford Christmas for their families, so what a better way to show we care.”
Conner and Julio Torres, both Bakersfield veterans, along with Ramm Hospitality Inc. hosted the second annual veterans surprise Christmas at the Fairfield Hotel in Northwest Bakersfield.
“Our mission is to give back,” said Shiv Kapoor, Ramm Hospitality vice president of operations. “It’s not all about receiving, it’s about giving. We are very blessed, everyone one in our company is very blessed with what we have and we want to make sure that we share that with people that don’t have that opportunity.”
They invited the families down for breakfast, but had a few surprises up their sleeve for them.
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus came in early from the North Pole to surprise all the kids with early Christmas gifts.
The gifts don’t stop there. Organizers asked the families for their kid’s wish list, for a raffle they said but, instead they filled their lists.
Parents also got in on the fun. Each veteran received $225 in food and gas gift cards.
“It’s not just about feeling good, it’s about seeing our communities growing,” Shiv Kapoor.
A small gesture that has made a difference. Dallas Christison, one of last year’s honorees was there to prove it.
“I was able to invest in myself and my family and better myself,” said Christison. “I was able to get passed homeless to buy a home, I have an income now. This small gift had a butterfly effect in my life.”
Last year, three veteran families were honored. Organizers say they hope their event continues to grow so that they’re able to help more families next year.