JACKSON, Miss.- It was a successful flight to Gatlinburg by the impromptu Smokey Mountain Santa Flight crew.
After the devastating wildfire that ripped through the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area, a group of pilots with some big hearts wanted to help out.
The idea came to Kim Jergens, a local Mississippi pilot who often spends his extra time doing volunteer flights. He was sitting at his own home monitoring a brush fire when the thought came to him of how he could help.
“I was sitting there just thinking, goodness, if someone came up to me right now with Christmas coming and said ‘You’re going to have to leave and when you come back your home may not be there. That would be devastating,” said Jergens.
It didn’t take long for other pilots to hear his plan and volunteer their time and resources to make this dream a reality.
The Smokey Mountain Santa Flight took off on Dec. 21st to deliver as many gifts as they could fit on four airplanes for students from Pi Beta Phi Elementary School. The students were forced to go to different schools, due to major damage done to the school building.
“There’s 95 kids that have lost their home that won’t even have a place to have Christmas,” said Jergens.
They asked for monetary donations, as well as wrapped gifts to deliver to the children just a few days before Christmas.
The flight went off without a hitch, and these very special pilots got to play Santa for a few hours.