Idaho Veteran Watches Son Graduate in Montgomery Thanks to Secret Santa

Idaho native and 17 year Air Force veteran Steven Elkins didn’t think he would see his son graduate from Air University due to financial constraints. But thanks to a Secret Santa, his dream became a reality.

Steven Elkins has been through a lot since he retired from the military. A few years ago, Elkins was diagnosed with cancer. He is now in remission but the cancer took a toll on his body. He still feels pain at times and ended up with Bell’s Palsy in his face. Elkins parent’s have lived with he and his wife since December of last year but recently moved out. To help take better care of his parents, Steven quit one of his jobs. His wife later got a job to help support the family but recently they fell back on hard times. 

“Financially we weren’t doing too good. My wife lost her job and originally we were going to try and make it out here, then when all that happened it was well ok, I don’t think that is going to work. So we decided not to come,” explained Steven. 

Steven and his wife were hoping to see their son Kevin Elkins commissioned as an officer of the United States Air Force in Montgomery.

“It’s just one of those things, circumstances happens, life happens and unfortunately it was a bad set of cards that were dealt but that’s what it was,” said Kevin. 

When all hope seemed lost, a Christmas miracle occurred.

An anonymous Secret Santa in Steven’s home state of Idaho gave the financial gift needed to make the trip to Alabama.

The team surprised Steven with the money needed to cover all expenses for the trip to Maxwell Air Force Base.

“I know it’s been a long road for my son to get to this point and I’m glad that I can be here,” said Steven. 

 Steven who is also a veteran of the Air Force was front and center for a very special moment in Kevin’s career, the traditional first salute where a silver dollar was exchanged. According to the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Silver Dollar Salute has been a military tradition since the 19th century. Newly commissioned officers give a silver dollar to the first enlisted member who salutes them. It is now used in ceremonies as a sign of respect and deep gratitude for an officer who has had the greatest impact on the new officer’s career.  

“I don’t even know how to describe it honestly. I’m super appreciative of him and everything that he has shown me help me through life,” said Kevin.
Officer Elkins will take a few days off before taking the next step in his career as an intel student at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. 


Categories: Montgomery, News