Angel Flight brings Santa, planes loaded with presents to children

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ENOCH, Utah - Christmas came early for Three Peaks Elementary school in Enoch this week, but Santa traded in his sleigh for a fleet of airplanes.

Twenty-one small airplanes landed at the Cedar City Airport on Tuesday. It’s called Santa Flight, and it is the product of the Salt Lake based non-profit group Angel Flight West.

Throughout the year, Angel Flight offers medical transport for needy families. At Christmas, they open the cargo holds for presents. They pick a rural Title I school and fly the gifts in.

Local Boy Scouts collected close to 6,000 pounds of gifts and school supplies. They also raised $4,700.

“What a great concept,” pilot John Clayton said. “To pick a school somewhere in the state of Utah that could use some extra books and extra toys and extra gifts for kids who could probably use it.”

This year, organizers chose Three Peaks Elementary. PTA president Becky Loescher said those donations will go a long way, considering they didn’t get all the government funding they expected for this school year.

“It’s amazing,” Loescher said. “Especially to know that so many people up north that don’t even know us are willing to donate so much for us. It’s amazing.”

Santa visited the school by helicopter, and the students thanked him through an assembly. Pilots said that’s the payoff, to see them spread the Christmas cheer.

“You know it’s benefiting our community locally,” pilot Bill McVay said. “And there’s a lot of things, toys and blankets and clothing that were donated, and we know it’s going to go to good use.”