HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- It looks like the 388th Maintenance Squadron at Hill Air Force Base will have a place to celebrate Christmas after all.
Unable to secure the funds needed for a banquet room at Union Station in Ogden, the group was left searching for a place big enough to hold its annual Christmas party, which is scheduled for Dec. 10 and will include a guest list of more than 300 people.
Amy Meighan, who works at the squadron and is helping to organize the party, said the group has already had to raise money to pay for the food and supplies for the party, and being able to pay for a room seemed like a hurdle the group would be unlikely to clear.
But thanks to an outpouring of support from the Top of Utah community, Meighan said, the group will indeed pull off the party.
The day after an article about the group ran in the Standard-Examiner, Meighan said she began receiving nonstop phone calls from businesses and residents offering to help.
"The minute I walked into my office at 7 a.m., I started getting calls," she said. "People from all over Weber and Davis counties were asking how they could help us out."
So far, Meighan said, she has made contact with multiple people and organizations willing to let the group use a banquet room free of charge.
Representatives from such Ogden establishments as the Ben Lomond Hotel, Comfort Suites Inn, Marshall White Center, Historic Berthana Building, Megaplex 13, Union Grill, Ogden Eccles Conference Center, Weber State University, Campus Book Rentals, Megaplex Theatres in Centerville and Wolf Creek Resort in Eden have offered rooms for free.
In Layton, the Sports Page, the Cooper Club and Mayor Steve Curtis also offered help.
Meighan said the Ogden Eagles Club and several VFW and American Legion posts have offered facilities for free as well.
Dennis Howland, commander of VFW Post 1481 in Ogden, was among those who offered a free room to the maintenance squadron.
Howland said the group recently completed construction on a banquet hall near its 12th Street headquarters that would suit the Hill group well.
"That's what we built it for," he said. "We'd be honored if they came and had their party there."
Meighan said the group is still weighing its options on where to hold the party, but everyone is thankful for the all of the support.
"I can't tell you what it means," she said. "We're really just blown away by how people have reached out and offered to help us.
"It's been incredible."