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Holiday spirit was in the air, and hot cocoa filled several cups at the Madigan Healthcare System Troop Battalion parking lot in front of the Madigan Annex building.
Hundreds of walkers and runners gathered in unit formations dressed in Santa Claus, elf and reindeer hats. A few wore battery-powered Christmas lights in place of reflective belts.
Soldiers, civilians and Family members from Madigan took part in a Jingle Bell Run, Dec. 14, in conjunction with a drive to donate clothing for shelters that serve the Tacoma area.
My husband works at Madigan in the ER, this is our first time joining him for a unit fun run, said Heather Matthews, who joined her husband, 1st Lt. Aaron Matthews.
Its only 2.5 miles, nothing too crazy, so we knew we could do that, and we brought the kids along.
The formation was also an opportunity for Madigan commander, Col. Dallas Homas, to address the unit in preparation for the holiday season.
Before the start of holiday leaves, activities and celebrations, I wanted to thank you all for a great 2012, Homas said, addressing his Soldiers, himself decked out in a light-up Santa Claus outfit.
Those who contributed items filled the donation boxes before the start of the run.
Well drop some of these off at the main offices for the Tacoma shelters, said Staff Sgt. Madylene Fingerle, Madigan. From there theyll divide these up depending on which shelter needs what for the winter: hats, coats, gloves, regular clothing, blankets anything that was donated will be put to good use.
The formation ran from the Madigan Annex, across Jackson Avenue and around the pond next to the Madigan hospital towers.
The formation stopped by Madigans flagpole for reveille, and a safety briefing before returning to the run start point.
Its great to see the amount of participation in the spirit of this, given that we only came up with this idea a few weeks ago, said Madigans Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Brady.
Ive brought four bags myself. Well help out a lot of people, and giving thats what the seasons about.