Military Operation brings holiday cheer to young patients at KGH

Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Sargent, 1 Wing Headquarters Chief Warrant Officer and Lieutenant-Colonel Chung Wong, 1 Wing Headquarters Commanding Officer taking part in Operation HOHOHO. Image provided by Canadian Armed Forces.

A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-146 Griffon helicopter landed at Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s Kingston General Hospital helipad today, Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020, as part of Operation HOHOHO, an annual event designed to bring holiday cheer to the hospital’s young patients and their families.

Kingston Health Sciences Centre and 1 Wing Headquarters came together once again to raise the spirits of young patients as part of Operation HOHOHO, according to a release from Canadian Armed Forces dated Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. This annual event, organized by 1 Wing Headquarters during the holiday season, aims to give back to the local community by delivering presents to pediatric patients at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site.

We are so happy to be able to partner with 1 Wing to bring Operation HOHOHO to our patients once again,” said Kerri-Lee Bisonette, Program Manager, Pediatrics, KHSC. “It’s a particularly challenging time to be staying in the hospital, and this event was a great way to brighten the experience for our young patients and their families so close to the holiday season.”

Some of Santa’s elves were on the flight, but they were not able to enter the hospital due to COVID-19 mitigation measures this year. According to the release, toy donations, provided by 1 Wing Headquarters, were delivered to the KGH site ahead of time to allow for a quarantine period prior to distribution to patients.

“Our members at 1 Wing Headquarters are extremely proud to support and participate to Operation HOHOHO, for the second year now,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Chung Wong, Commanding Officer, 1 Wing Headquarters. “I can see this becoming an annual tradition for our unit, and it warms my heart knowing that we bring a bit of the magic of the festive season to the young patients at KGH.”

The RCAF CH-146 helicopter performed a flypast and landed on the helipad where the children watched Santa’s elves from the safety of their rooms.

According to the release, 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (Borden, Ont.) and 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (Edmonton, Alta.) are also partaking in the festivities by conducting their own Operation HOHOHO in their respective communities.

“I couldn’t be more impressed with our team at 1 Wing Headquarters in Kingston, but also at 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Borden and 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Edmonton, for the efforts that go into making Operation HOHOHO happen every year, but especially this year with the added challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” expressed Colonel Chris McKenna, Commander, 1 Wing. “Nothing makes me happier than knowing that we put smiles on children’s faces this holiday season, at a time when we need it most.”

Kingstonist was at the landing and captured some images of Operation HOHOHO in action:

Operation HOHOHO is an initiative dating back to 2005 and originating from 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, one of 1 Wing’s seven squadrons across Canada. 1 Wing Headquarters has conducted their own iteration since 2019.

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