It was a sweet Christmas for area military service personnel as “Cookies for the Troops” were delivered prior to the holiday.

It was a sweet Christmas for area military service personnel as “Cookies for the Troops” were delivered prior to the holiday.

The Cookies for the Troops programs was started by a Doris Hayes, of Novice, several years ago when she decided to bake cookies for the troops and got other area Methodist churches involved. She got her church to bake 90 dozen cookies and the program was born.

Bob Murchison, former pastor of the Winters First United Methodist Church has been participating for the past three years and on Tuesday, Dec. 19, he collected and delivered more than 200 dozen cookies from St. John's Lutheran Church and Main Street Church of Christ in Winters as well as cookies from churches in Ballinger and Coleman.

“This is a wonderful program,” Murchsion said. “It was Doris Haynes idea that got the ball in motion.”

On the receiving end in Abilene is retired Master Sgt. Bob Mehaffey, who has coordinated the program since it began.

“One of my very dear friends is (WWII veteran) Wesley Hayes he is a member of the church that was at the beginning of this,” Mehaffey explained. “He called and asked me about getting something done at Dyess.”

On Tuesday, Mehaffey and other personnel from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, were stationed at the VFW Post 6873 outside the gates of Dyess and were taking delivery on more than 7,200 dozen cookies.

Since its inception, the program has grown and now includes cookies from 300 Methodist churches in the Central Texas Conference, which covers a gargantuan area of the state.

On Tuesday, there were retired personnel from all branches of the military worked shoulder to shoulder to unload the cookies, including the Army, Navy, Airforce and Marines

“We had every one of our branches of the service here,” said Mehaffey, 85, who retired in 1976. “It was fantastic.”

Last year more than 8,700 dozen cookies were delivered to military personnel at Dyess and Goodfellow AFB’s. This year the cookies will be shared with personnel at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls.

Mehaffey said cookie contributions came from as far away as Fort Worth and Hilsboro. Contributions also came from churches in Dublin, Cisco and Brownwood.

Mehaffey said after the cookies were officially delivered to Dyess, he asked an airman at the gate if he had received his.

“He said ‘yes’ and I hope to get some more,” Mehaffey said.