Project Rudolph takes flight

by Laura Rutkowski
Ramstein High School

On Dec. 5, the Ramstein Passenger Terminal hosted the first day of Project Rudolph’s gift bag and snack giveaway to service members coming home and deploying before the holidays.

Included in the hand-decorated lunch bags were two hand-written letters from children and one from an adult, a Christmas ornament, a Christmas poem, and German and American candy.

Project Rudolph’s goal this year was to assemble 5,000 bags, but 150 volunteers exceeded that goal, preparing more than 5,300 bags. “So much love is put into the bags for the guys,” said Master Sgt. Bryan C. Grantham, 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. He volunteered for the first time with the project this year and said he understands what they’re going through, having been deployed many times himself.

“I volunteered with Project Rudolph because I just wanted to support everyone deploying and do what I could to help out,” said Senior Airman Sean W. McGinnis,  721st AMXS. 

All of the hard work and effort dedicated to Project Rudolph clearly paid off. Soldiers receiving the bags were pleasantly surprised by the simple yet highly touching gesture. A bountiful amount of baked goods and necessities, such as toothbrushes, were made available to troops coming through the terminal, whether deploying or returning from deployment. Veronica Evans, co-director of Project Rudolph for two years, described the project as the best experience she’s had while living in Germany.

“The service members are at first hesitant opening the bags, but once they start reading the letters, you see the result of the whole project,” she said.
Project Rudolph will be set up at the PAX terminal across from the United Service Organizations until Jan. 5, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Individually wrapped baked goods such as cookies, muffins and brownies are greatly appreciated and can be dropped off at the Project Rudolph table.