BY HEATHER COLLINS
Wasaya Airlines recently held its annual “Turkey Run,” when the company flies Santa Claus himself to several remote First Nation communities to deliver turkeys and other goodies to places where they’re often both difficult and expensive to buy.
In addition to the delivery of turkeys to 2,900 households in Keewaywin, Sandy Lake and Pikangikum, Santa also brought some special goodie bags to the children of those communities, who also got to spend time with him for a chat and picture.
“For the past 17 years, we have been able to provide joy during the holiday season to First Nation families thanks to the support and partnership of several companies and organizations throughout Northwestern Ontario,” said President and CEO of Wasaya Airlines, Tom Morrison in a statement. “The communities look forward each year to this event and Wasaya Airline is happy to be able to give back to families in these communities.”
Max Kakepetum, Community Liaison Officer for Wasaya, was this year’s voluntary Man in Red. Kakepetum, who has a lot of family in Keewaywin, has participated for the past 4 years volunteering his time to spread a little Christmas cheer to his home community and others.
“All in all this program has been very successful in terms of people not only getting a Christmas turkey, but also the kids have come to look forward to seeing Santa. My favorite part of the program is getting to know the communities and seeing how important (especially to the kids) to show the Christmas aspect of the year.”
Every year Wasaya selects locations from its 12 owner communities for the Turkey Run. Wasaya started the annual event in 1997.
This year, both pilots and Santa endured the frigid -35 temperatures to complete their mission.
“It doesn’t matter how cold it gets, the community will be there waiting outside the airport to greet you.”