They took off in the early morning hours on a cold, rainy Tuesday morning, headed south of the border. Seven pilots traveling into the December chill, with planes loaded to capacity, their cargo, thousands of Christmas presents for children in need in Mexico.
It’s called Wings of Witness, and it’s a sight to see, the smiles, the hugs, and memories to last a lifetime. Local pilot Paul Davis has been making this trip for nearly 30 years. “The mission started fairly small in 1989, with a handful of pilots flying out of the Ralph M. Hall / Rockwall Municipal Airport, taking Christmas gifts to children in need throughout Mexico,” Davis said. “The project has really gained momentum since that first trip.” Fast forward to this year, and the core group has grown substantially, now with 17 pilots and crew members delivering more than 4,000 gifts, but the mission is still the same—enrich the lives of children in need throughout Mexico at Christmastime. “I’m happy to get to use my talents and abilities as a pilot to be a part of something like this, helping others and making a difference,” said Paul Tremback, Southwest Airlines pilot and 12 year Wings of Witness volunteer. “It’s all about paying it forward—use some of your extra time to do something selfless. It doesn’t have a dollar value, but it enriches you and your soul.” Lake Pointe Church has orchestrated the event and has been the driving force for all these years. For their congregation, the Mexican Christmas Mission is a labor of love. Each gift is modest, a plastic shoebox filled with small toys and a few necessities for a boy or girl. Hundreds work to purchase, collect, wrap, sort, bag, weigh, transport and hand deliver the gifts each year. The team in Rockwall works with partner churches and an orphanage in Mexico. The group travels to three separate villages in different parts of the country, all poor and underserved both economically and medically. The same mission group, working with local medical professionals, makes about four trips a year to provide medical, vision and dental care as well as wheelchairs for those with disabilities. Wes Hartley, Media Pastor for Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, has been a part of this mission for the past 10 years. “This last trip, there was one little boy who hung in the back of the room holding his unwrapped gift carefully,” Hartley said. “We told him he could open his present, and he told us he was saving it for his sister who was sick at home. We gave him a gift for her, too. That little boy’s spirit—of generosity, thoughtfulness and kindness—that’s what this mission is all about.”