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Dream Team gifts holiday joy to Utah man behind 'Santa Flight'

Posted at 6:54 AM, Nov 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-29 08:54:25-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Steve Bollinger is Santa’s ultimate helper.

It all started with Angel Flight West, a group that transports non-emergency medical patients across the country for treatment, reunites families during an emergency, and even relocates survivors of violence… all free of charge.

Volunteer pilots with the group fly their own planes and pay for all costs out of pocket.

Bollinger is the wing leader of all Angel Flight activity in Utah, and over 20 years ago he started the “Santa Flight” project with the help of his friends in the organization.

Once a year during the holiday season, volunteer pilots load up their planes with school supplies and deliver them, along with Santa, to the Utah students who need them most. Even Bollinger’s wife, Dawn, gets into the spirit, occasionally playing the role of Mrs. Claus during the Santa flight.

This year's Santa Flight will visit Parowan Elementary on Dec 8.

Over the years, Bollinger’s efforts have brightened the spirits of thousands, and the FOX 13 Dream Team couldn’t think of a better person to honor during the holidays.

FOX 13 news anchor Dan Evans, along with Sharlene Wells from Mountain America Credit Union, surprised Bollinger at his family’s company, TVS Pro in Salt Lake City, rewarding him with a $1,000 donation to help with this year’s Santa Flight, along with four VIP tickets to see the Utah Jazz.

When asked what his favorite part of the Santa Flight is, Bollinger replied, “Oh, my gosh. It’s just seeing the results of what happens. And we’ve just seen that it really does make a difference in some of these schools.”

Dawn, dressed in her Mrs. Claus costume, tagged along to show support for her husband.

“He’s such a good person.” she said. “He helps everyone. Not with just the Angel Flight organization, but he serves the neighbors, he serves in the church, he serves his family. He’s a wonderful father and a really good man.”

Bollinger’s nephew and Angel Flight pilot, James Bollinger, was also present for the surprise.

“Steve will receive dozens and dozens of letter, drawings, cards, from teachers, principals, students, families, parents of the kids that are benefitting from it. That’s just a small portion of the thank yous that he gets.” said James. “Thank you to Steve for being an example of what Christmas is all about.”

Those looking to donate for this year's Santa Flight can do so until Friday at TVS Pro at 170 East 2100 South in Salt Lake City. CLICK HERE for more information about the Santa Flight program.