On Dec. 11, 2016, Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA), in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), airlifted a record 10,000 pounds of donated food and toys from the Centennial and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airports to veterans and their families across the state.

On Dec. 11, 2016, Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA), in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), airlifted a record 10,000 pounds of donated food and toys from the Centennial and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airports to veterans and their families across the state.

Pete Buchanan, Past Colorado State VFW Commander started to partner with CABA last year, when Las Animas destination was added to the program. This year's State VFW Commander Alan Stone has continued to partner with the program as his state project.

Flight drops across the state were in Burlington, Pueblo, Alamosa, Montrose and Las Animas. Fifteen to 20 aircrafts participated in this year's airlift piloted by members of the Metropolitan State University of Denver's Precision Flight Team. The delayed lift-off from Denver area this year was due to rough turbulent weather, but resulted in calm sunny conditions in Las Animas. Four planes with seven volunteers landed with the help of our local airport manager, John Dombaugh. Five planes were targeted for Las Animas, but one plane had to turn back due to mechanical difficulties. Unfortunately, it carried the majority of the toys. A few additional toys were purchased with Ted Kuhns memorial donations to the VFW Auxiliary. If anyone in the community would like to donate to this program next year, donations can be made to the Post #2411 VFW Auxiliary c/o Ted Kuhns memorial toy fund.

The landing was filmed and can be seen on YouTube under the title: "Airlift delivers holiday cheer to vets in need." Several community members welcomed the pilots, including VFW member (color guard) Billy Bob Deatherage, VFW Auxiliary President Pam Valdez and several VFW Auxiliary members, Rhonda Bucholz, program coordinator, and even Santa. Volunteers emptied the planes after enjoying a chili soup luncheon. Toys and food were taken to the Powell-Kuhns Mortuary garage and were later distributed on Dec. 17, 2016.

About 30 veteran families received food boxes and 30 kids received toys from the airlift over an area from Ordway to Lamar. Over 150 people were directly affected by this program. We hope this project continues in our area for several years to come.