Navajo Christmas Airlift
By George Pohlman
KFHU - The 32nd Christmas Airlift to the Navajo Nation took place on Saturday, November 12, 2016.
The weather that day was perfect for our flight. There were 9 planes from the Sierra Vista area and 26 from the PHX / Deer Valley area, a total of 35 planes in all, landing at Gallup, NM, airport.
We filled their ramp with all sorts of aircraft. Each plane was packed with clothing, food, toys, and gifts for the Navajo Nation.
We were met at the airport by a group of Navajo men, women, and children, and two pickups plus a long horse trailer to haul the cargo which each pilot had unloaded in front of their plane. The Native Americans from The Thoreau Navajo Outreach organization warmly expressed their appreciation for the thoughtfulness and the goods we provided. They also sang a couple of songs in the Navajo language, which was very special.
After our “Pow-Wow,” many of us walked a few blocks to town for brunch followed by our departure home. All flights were without incident and much enjoyed.
History: This annual event was started by the late Dick McColley, 32 years ago, when he lived in Deer Valley. It continued when he and his wife Betty moved to Sierra Vista. The Christmas Airlift has continued under the direction of Greg McColley (Dick’s son) who currently lives in Deer Valley.