Alliant Volunteers help make United’s Fantasy Flight a Big Success
December 12, 2006 | Alliant Credit Union
On Saturday, December 9th United Airlines transported seriously ill children on a fantasy flight to the North Pole, where the kids arrived to find an array of Christmas decorations, toy filled packages, tasty treats and best of all, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Many of the toys had been donated by thoughtful Alliant employees and members.
After arriving at O’Hare from several Chicago area hospitals and hospice agencies, the young “travelers” boarded a United Airlines jet bound for the North Pole. Although it never left the ground, the plane “flew” around the taxi-ways, ending up at a specially decorated Gate, where the festivities took place. The event was called “Operation North Pole”.
More than 20 Alliant employee volunteers were there to help and lend support to United, the kids and their families during Saturday’s event and Friday evening’s decorating activities. Several employees brought friends and family members to help out, too.
Rosanne Hoogenboom, Alliant’s Director of Human Rescources said that Saturday was the most rewarding day she can recall. She expressed the excitement of seeing the amazement and pure joy of the children arriving to what was truly a “North Pole experience”. She added, “However, at the same time it was extremely sad to see the pain on the parents’ faces, obviously thinking beyond this special day.” Ms.. Hoogenboom went on to say, “At least parents were able to step outside their sadness and manage feelings of appreciation for the happiness this magical occasion brought to their children.” Rosanne also commented, “I’ve been blessed with good fortune in my life. It was a great feeling to give back to those less fortunate.
Colleen Panzino, assistant to Alliant President & CEO Dave Mooney, commented on one family that seemed quite down emotionally. “The child was not feeling well and his mother was crying. Suddenly, along came Santa. He gave them special attention and toys that quickly changed sorrow to smiles.” Colleen also said, “So many people came up and thanked us for doing this. It’s probably been some time since they were able to just enjoy the moment, and not think about scans, blood work and test results. Operation North Pole was a beautiful thing to witness. I can’t wait till next year.”
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