Bearing Gifts at Christmas

by John Hawkins, President and CEO, The Club

Santa is one popular person this time of year!

This is obvious, of course. But we were reminded of that when taking this month’s cover photo, shot at LAX in mid-November for our cover story on the Airport Police program that gives out teddy bears to traveling children on Christmas morning. We were interrupted with smiles, laughter and high-fives – from adults as well as children – while taking the photos you see here.

You don’t expect to see Santa at LAX in mid-November. But you also don’t expect to see him roaming the terminals giving away teddy bears on Christmas morning, either. It’s that surprise that proves how awesome their tradition is.

Five years ago we started to see photos of Santa and the program managers
Sgt. Rob Pedregon and Officers Paul Mosqueda and Nick Van Dragt handing out the teddy bears, and children smiling in surprise and complete delight. We told ourselves we wanted to do a story on this tradition, which is growing, sometime. And now is that sometime.

I love the holidays for many reasons, but that’s one of them – surprise greetings, unexpected kindnesses, and unexplained awesomeness. That the Officers’ families come in and participate, again unexpectedly, makes it even more special. So thanks, Airport Police and Santa, for reminding us what it means to give of yourselves … and be that surprise for someone.

Moving on … this marks one year – 12 issues – of Alive!’s new plan to create a Website to complement our print product so we can use more photos and video, and better serve the way our Members live their lives today. We’re learning all the time. Let us know how we’re doing! … And speaking of moving on, we want to thank Tara Miller, former Manager of the LACERS Well program for Retirees, who’s moving on after nearly four years. Tara has helped us immensely as we refine our outreach to Retirees. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

This issue is packed with stories of people doing good: Airport Police; the Custodian Appreciation Day; the City toy drives; LACERS Guiding Principles; and so on. There are a lot of good things going on in the City, and I’m glad we can tell you about them.

With that, from my wife, Kelley Hawkins, and me, and from everyone here at the Club, we wish you a joyful Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Don’t forget those in need, and then enjoy your time with your loved ones. Be the surprise of the season.

— John