The Salvation Army kicked off its 21st Season of Giving at the Marriott in downtown Anchorage. It is the nonprofit's biggest fundraiser of the year. 

This year marks a special anniversary: a 50-year partnership with the Alaska National Guard. The organizations work together to bring Operation Santa Claus to the families in rural Alaska. This year they will be going to Napakiak and Tuntutuliak. 

Maj. John Brackenbury, the divisional commander of The Salvation Army Alaska, said those flights are one of a kind.

"Being able to be a part of all of that is an amazing experience and to see the hope in their eyes that there's something better than what they may know and to be able to give toys and food and school supplies that they don't normally get," he said. "It's a great opportunity."

The Salvation Army also presented Col. Scott Howard, the commander of the Alaska Air National Guard, their Others Award at the gathering. The award honors a person or an organization for their exemplary service. He will be headed on this year's Operation Santa Claus. 

The organization's red kettle bell ringing is also part of the Season of Giving. That starts Nov. 28.

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