Winter Wonderland for military families to continue this year despite pandemic

Military families gathered for the Yellow Ribbons United Winter Wonderland event.
Photo credit Courtesy of Derrick Dockery
By Connecting Vets

An annual Winter Wonderland for Military Families hosted by a former NFL player and his wife will look very different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Derrick Dockery and his wife Emma will hold a drive-thru version of the event that provides toys and holiday cheer to military kids and families on Dec. 7 at a parking lot in Arlington, Virginia through their nonprofit, Yellow Ribbons United.

“This is an amazing opportunity for us to show our appreciation to the men and women who serve our country,” Derrick said. “Unfortunately, we’re not able to conduct our event in the normal way of doing it because of the tumultuous times we’re in.”

Military families attend the Yellow Ribbons United Winter Wonderland event.
Photo credit Courtesy of Derrick Dockery.

The parking lot will be turned into a winter wonderland and will serve invited military families from Marine Corps Base Quantico, Fort Belvoir and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in shifts of 25.

“Obviously, we won’t be able to see the reactions of the children as we normally do,” explained Emma. “Participants will be asked to drive in and pop open their trunks.”

Scheduled to make an appearance at the event are Santa, the Grinch and Elsa from “Frozen.”

Santa’s bag will be stuffed with goodies from the events corporate partners, including Boeing and Toys for Tots.

“This is an opportunity for us to rally around a community that really understands freedom isn’t free,” said Derrick.

In years past, the Dockerys held the event at the Ritz in Pentagon City.

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