SAGAMI GENERAL DEPOT, Japan — The Army community here brought smiles and a few tears to children at Aikeikai Orphanage during its 11th annual visit Friday.
More than 40 35th Supply and Services Battalion soldiers, family members and Japanese employees hand-delivered gifts, snacks, diapers, clothing, videos and training pants to 46 Aikeikai children.
“Thank you for allowing us to offer you some of the things that we’ve been blessed with,” Lt. Col. LeRoy Stockland, 35th commander, told orphanage employees.
Chief Warrant Officer Paul Clopton, dressed as Santa, handed gifts to each child.
Aikeikai worker Noriko Shida said some of the children came from abusive families and love to be held and hugged.
Maj. Julius Smith, battalion executive officer, went from child to child, smiling and joking. “Ladies, I’m going for cookies,” he said to a group of toddlers. “Would anyone like to join me?”
For 1st Lt. Ryan Deyette, battalion supply officer, the trip offered him a chance to give back to the community. Deyette said the Japanese people have been warm and generous to him in his two years here. “And it’s good to see the smiles on their faces,” he said, motioning toward the children busily playing with their new toys.