Sub-for-Santa Shopping Spree - 12-11-13
Utah National Guard’s Sub-for-Santa Program Conducts
Shopping Spree with Goldman Sachs Donation


Story and Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Brock Jones

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of approximately 50 Goldman Sachs Salt Lake City employees, still dressed in business attire from a day’s work, together with a few soldiers and civilians from the Utah National Guard, took part in a Sub-for-Santa shopping spree at a Salt Lake City Walmart Dec. 11.

Goldman Sachs employees volunteered their time to assist
the huge and logistically challenging work of shopping for the
Utah National Guard Sub-for-Santa program, administered by the Utah Guard Charitable Trust. Volunteer shoppers hustled around the store, armed with request forms that included basic child information such as age and gender, as well as the child’s Christmas needs and wishes, filling their carts, standing in checkout lines and then doing it all again and again.

Three hours after the first volunteers showed up to shop,
many Sub-for-Santa requests had been processed and filled, and
soldiers began loading bags of gifts, clothes and bicycles into
a rented truck for transport back to the Sub-for-Santa center of
operations at Camp Williams.

The Utah Guard’s Sub-for-Santa program depends on both in-kind and monetary donations from individuals, groups and corporations, as well as volunteered time. Goldman Sachs is one the largest annual donors of both time and money to the program, spurred by the company’s continuing involvement in a
variety of veterans programs.

Mike Burgin, an employee of Goldman Sachs, is also a captain in the Utah Guard and serves as commander of Alpha Battery, 1-145th Field Artillery. He said that Goldman Sachs has an in-house veteran network that seeks involvement in as many ways as possible in veteran initiatives and programs.

Goldman Sachs has been involved with the Utah Guard’s Subfor-
Santa program for five years. The company’s Sub-for-Santa involvement is indicative of a larger company-wide commitment
to and sponsorship of veteran programs generally, said Burgin.

Through the Veterans Network at Goldman Sachs, Burgin said volunteers have not only served as Sub-for-Santa shoppers to go with the thousands of dollars donated by the company, but they’ve also given time at the food bank and VA Hospital, and volunteered with Operation Give and Fisher House.

“Goldman Sachs has a number of what they call Affinity Networks, one of which is the Veterans Network, which looks for ways to better support veterans and service members within the company, as well as for ways to support the greater veteran community outside the company,” said Ryan McQueen, co-head of the Veterans Network at Goldman Sachs Salt Lake City.
He is also a former Apache helicopter pilot who served with
the 101st Airborne and 4th Infantry Divisions. The Salt Lake City Veterans Network was established two years ago, McQueen said.

“There’s a big veteran emphasis at Goldman Sachs,” said Emilio Suazo, a UTARNG captain who works for Goldman Sachs and serves as commander of Charlie Battery, 1-145th Field Artillery. Suazo also said that not only is assisting the Sub-for-Santa program great from the perspective of an employee of Goldman Sachs, but also as a commander of a UTARNG unit.

“We have people in our units who need this kind of help,” he said.

With the gifts bought by Goldman Sachs volunteers unloaded at Camp Williams later that night, the work of getting the donations to their intended recipients began early the next morning and continued until days before Christmas. Mindy Larsen, who works in the Camp Williams Family Assistance Center and who has assisted the program for many years, took over this year as director of the Sub-for-Santa program. Larsen oversaw a team of civilians and soldiers who worked to get
donated Christmas assistance to more than 100 Utah Guard
families, including hundreds of children.
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