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Schriever spreads cheer in Ellicott Parade of Lights

Col. DeAnna M. Burt, 50th Space Wing commander, (right) and Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna, 50 SW command chief, wave while riding on Schriever Air Force Base’s opinicus float before the 15th annual Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Ellicott, Colorado. Schriever’s opinicus float was on full display, covered with lights and Christmas trees donated from the 50th Force Support Squadron, and earned third place in the parade’s float contest. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Col. DeAnna M. Burt, 50th Space Wing commander, (right) and Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna, 50 SW command chief, wave while riding on Schriever Air Force Base’s opinicus float before the 15th annual Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Ellicott, Colorado. Schriever’s opinicus float was on full display, covered with lights and Christmas trees donated from the 50th Force Support Squadron, and earned third place in the parade’s float contest. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Schriever Air Force Base showcases its opinicus float during the 15th annual Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Ellicott, Colorado. This was Schriever’s first time participating in the parade, but plans on making it a holiday tradition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Schriever Air Force Base showcases its opinicus float during the 15th annual Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Ellicott, Colorado. This was Schriever’s first time participating in the parade, but plans on making it a holiday tradition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Members of the Ellicott and Schriever community wave to floats as they pass by during the 15th annual Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Ellicott, Colorado. The parade ended at the Ellicott Community Center where Santa and Mrs. Claus were waiting with cookies, hot cocoa and gifts for the children. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Members of the Ellicott and Schriever community wave to floats as they pass by during the 15th annual Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Ellicott, Colorado. The parade ended at the Ellicott Community Center where Santa and Mrs. Claus were waiting with cookies, hot cocoa and gifts for the children. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Attendees gather at the community center to see Santa and Mrs. Claus after the 15th annual Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Ellicott Colorado. The Schriever spouses group collected toys so each child in attendance could receive an early gift from Santa. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Attendees gather at the community center to see Santa and Mrs. Claus after the 15th annual Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Ellicott Colorado. The Schriever spouses group collected toys so each child in attendance could receive an early gift from Santa. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Schriever Air Force Base's leadership spread holiday cheer during Ellicott's Parade of Lights Saturday, Dec. 12, in Ellicott, Colorado.

Although this is the 15th year Ellicott has hosted the parade, it is the first time Schriever Air Force Base has participated.

"The relationship between Schriever and Ellicott is important and it's growing," said Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna, 50th Space Wing command chief. "This is our first time participating, which is great because it shows our relationship and coordination is getting much better."

In past years, the Ellicott parade has featured more than 100 floats. This year, an unexpected snowstorm hindered the amount of participation.

"The weather is definitely keeping some people away," said Col. DeAnna M. Burt, 50 SW commander. "This is usually a really big deal for Ellicott, but tonight I think only the brave are out here."

Despite the freezing temperatures, Schriever helped warm the hearts of bystanders who braved the cold.

"A lot of our kids go to school here, so it is important to get out and show that we're part of the community...even though it's cold," said Bentivegna.

Members of Schriever's spouses club, the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron and base residents attended to show their community spirit and support.

Schriever's recently-made opinicus float was on full display, covered with lights and Christmas trees donated from the 50th Force Support Squadron, and earned third place in the parade's float contest.

"Thank you to the [50th] Civil Engineer Squadron for building the opinicus float and the spouses for decorating it," said Burt. "They did a great job on it and it looks great."

After travelling Ellicott Highway, the parade ended at the Ellicott Community Center where Santa and Mrs. Claus were waiting with cookies, hot cocoa and presents for the children.

"Our spouses group helped [Santa] by doing a collection of toys for the kids," said Burt. "It is so great to be out here for the first time and to participate in such a wonderful event--hopefully this can become a Schriever tradition."
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