My Experience at ONP

Hi!

My name is Brooke Milton. I'm Jered Milton's (Firefighter/Engineer for the Des Plaines Fire Department) wife. I tagged along with Jered this year, and I was fortunate enough to experience Operation North Pole myself.

As we opened each box during the wrapping party on Thursday, I tried to imagine how each child would feel tearing off the paper and seeing what was inside. I wrapped each present hoping smiles, chuckles and yelps would accompany the bows, ribbons and paper undoubtedly strewn across the floor.

Jered drove the engine on Saturday and led the parade to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. I sat in the front passenger seat. Even though I wasn't doing anything, I was just happy to be wearing a powder blue shirt and supporting my husband, the children and their families.

I had no idea what to expect when we arrived, as I'd only seen pictures from previous years. When the children walked down the receiving line, I lost it. I cried as soon as I saw Santa. They all looked so happy, and that made my heart smile. I was truly blown away by EVERYTHING. The room was gorgeous, the activities were engaging, the food was plentiful, and the love, most importantly, was infectious.

You must be commended for a job well done. Your well-oiled machine left a lasting impression on me. I'm a mother of a toddler with one on the way, and I hope my children will be able to volunteer for ONP at some point.

I hope you have a very happy and healthy holiday season.

With Love,
Brooke Milton