Boy Scout Troop 166 teams up with Army Reserves unit for Operation Santa Run

To kick off this holiday season of giving and to provide service to the community, Boy Scout Troop 166 of Oak-ville is teaming up again this year with the U.S. Army Res-erve’s 10th Psychological Operations Battalion and its Fam-ily Readiness Group stationed at Jefferson Barracks for Op-eration Santa Run.

Operation Santa Run will provide support to the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center, according to a news release issued by Troop 166.

Operation Santa Run is designed to give back to the greater St. Louis community that has been supportive of the U.S. Army Reserve Psychological Operations Battal-ion and its Family Readiness Groups.

The Boy Scouts and Army Reserve invite the public to come to Jefferson Barracks County Park at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.

The Scouts will have a welcome tent set up and are asking residents to bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to the Annie Malone Center to help brighten the holidays for children who are supported by this local organization. Cash donations also will be accepted.

Operation Santa Run will start at 11 a.m. at the main Jefferson Barracks military entrance gate and finish at this location roughly a half hour later. Operation Santa Run will be a three-mile military formation run around Jeffer-son Barracks by soldiers of the 10th Psychological Op-erations Battalion as well as other local military units from Jefferson Barracks and the St. Louis area. Santa and his sleigh, provided by Boy Scout Troop 166, will follow the formation run around the park.

The Battalion Family Readiness Groups are participating in Operation Santa Run as part of their holiday celebrations. Families will cheer on their soldiers in the formation run and children will have an opportunity to bring a toy to Santa in his sleigh to be donated to the Annie Malone Center.

The responsibility of the 10th Psychological Operations Battalion stationed at Jefferson Barracks is to persuade, change and/or influence the hearts and minds of its target audiences — enemy combatants, civilians, etc. — using non-lethal force.

The battalion is comprised entirely of local volunteer citizen-soldiers, more than 75 percent of whom have de-ployed to Afghanistan and Iraq in support of this nation’s global war against terrorism.

The mission of Annie Malone Children and Family Ser-vice Center is to improve the quality of life for children, families and neighborhoods by helping children grow into independent, positive-minded adults, the release stated.

The mission is carried out by providing early childhood education, parenting classes, crisis intervention, counseling and adoption support.

With area support, Troop 166 and the military battalion at Jefferson Barracks hope to make Operation Santa Run an annual holiday community event.

For more information, call Ron Barge of Troop 166 at (314) 913-2959.