Dear Sir (and Ma'am),
My name is Rebecca and I'm writing this email in an effort to find my own resolution to the issues resulting from the photos with Santa at the Kadena Base Exchange during the month of December. I found your emails on the Kadena High School webpage, I hope this is the correct school that was fundraising at this event.
My husband and I took our 3 year old son to the BX just before 6pm on December 11th, to get his photo taken with Santa. We were the last ones for the night, our son was coaxed into sitting with Santa by Santa playfully having my son's teddy bear sit with him first (which was very much appreciated by myself, I assure you!). My husband made the donation while I was handed a small sheet of paper with information for a photobucket album and password, and was told the photos would be available for viewing and downloading in 2-3 days. My son got a candy cane and we left happy to have gotten this done with time to spare before Christmas, for the family back home to see.
Except the photos of my son never showed up. I posted on the AFN facebook page, inquiring about the status of the photos as did multiple other parents, with no response. I sent an ICE to the BX for hosing the event but not having any contact info for the club raising the money or the people actually posting the photos. I got a response that said they'd look into it and get back to me, I never had any further emails from them. After a post I'd written was deleted from the AFN wall but not responded to, I sent an ICE form about AFN and their handling of the situation. I was contacted the next day by a MSgt Prince, informing me that it was a booster club function and he would forward my complaint to booster club president. That was January 4th and I (again) have received no further contact from anyone.
This is a poor reflection on all parties involved. It reflects badly on the school for using such an iconic figure as Santa to raise money, but have no responsibility in the distribution of the photos they were taking while raising their money. It reflects poorly on the BX because they'll allow 2 groups (AFN and booster club) to collaborate for an event like this but not have any contact info to give in the event of a dispute or other issue that has nothing to do with the BX in any manner at all, since the simply offered a place for the photos to be taken, which would be convenient to all. And finally, it's a poor reflection on AFN and how they handle the numerous complaints and inquiries about the photos by parents. Photos with Santa are a once-a-year event, and being on Okinawa options are limited. I still do not have these photos and it was the first year my son was excited to see Santa! I can't get that moment back and it doesn't seem I can get anyone who understands and/or is willing offer an explanation for why the photos aren't to be found (to-date there are 1929 photos in the online album, I've looked at every photo numerous times), if there were any unusable and who exactly is responsible for uploading these photos/when they will be uploaded. (The most recent group was uploaded after the January 1st)
At this point, it's not just about the photos. It's about the principle that the photos have come to stand for. I took my son and made a donation to a local booster club, in exchange for his photo with Santa. Unfortunately, no one can tell me what happened to his photos or even who exactly is responsible for them.
Thank you for your time.
I took into account that I sent these emails over a holiday weekend (MLK Jr Day), but imagine my utter and total amazement when I got had this email waiting for me Tuesday morning:
I have been out of the building this week and will see what I can find out. I am sorry for this but will see if I can find out who was in charge of this and where those photos are. Thank you for letting me know.
HOLY SHIT ON A STICK.....SOMEONE APOLOGIZED!!! I could almost careless about any further follow-up, I was given what appears to be a real genuine apology!! But wait....it gets better!! I got ANOTHER email from someone else, and hold on to your seats, this one is a real fucking doozy and it really makes me question the Public Affairs Dept of AFN here on Okinawa and the way they do shit. (I'm not kidding, if anyone has done PA work before, prepared to be disgusted!)
The final and by far most disturbing email about this whole Santa at the BX saga:
Let me start out by introducing myself and apologising for the situation you have been place in. My name is S R and I am the President of Kadena High School's Project Graduation Class of 2012. I received your e-mail yesterday from Dr. Paul in reference to the Santa Pictures.
This event was sponsored by the Kadena BX (they provided the Santa Suit, place, time, advertisement and chair with back drop). AFN was the organization that was slotted to do this event and did so Saturday only of Thanksgiving weekend. Due to unforeseen circumstances, AFN backed out and we were asked to fill in. We, the Project Graduation Board, Seniors and Parents quickly gathered a list of volunteers to help the BX out in a tough spot and it was helping us raise financial aid extremely needed to provide a safe, drug and alcohol free event for the graduating Class of 2012. A few days before we started our part in this event, I received an e-mail that AFN did not want to step down and that there was a miss-communication and was asked if we could some how work together. After already having our seniors and parents in place we agreed to go a head and team up with AFN and split the funds. Project Graduation provided the body in the Santa Suit and the Elves. AFN took the photo's and were responsible for down loading all to their website. I myself took a few photos for our year book with my own personal camera and had to take a few of customers due to AFN's card filling up. Out of the photo's I have, there are no single children, they all have siblings. If your photo was that of him by himself and then one with his sister (if you have a daughter) it might be one that I still have copies off. I am not sure about the others and have no access to them other than what was provided to you as well. The website that was handed out was that of AFN's and was provided by them. Project Graduation nor the BX are administrators of their website.
I promise you I will do what I can to look into this. I, nor our school or any of it's organization do business this way. We take great pride in all we do and for us,"children come first!" This was the first contact of any sort that I have received about this situation and had I known before now, would have been working on it. I myself have 5 children and know how important those firsts are! I truly understand the frustration on your part and hope I am able to do something to help. I am going to CC the BX Manager that was in charge of this event. I don't know what help she will be able to provide. Trust me when I say, "this will never happen again where we are concerned!"
Again, I am truly sorry for the frustration. If you ever need anything from us you can reach me at xxx xx xxxxx . As I said before, I will look into this and get back to you by the end of next week with my findings.
Take care and have a blessed week!
S L R
President, KDHS Project Graduation 2012
So I feel like someone finally cares about getting to the bottom of this, but how many families might never see those pictures because the memory card was full?? Why wouldn't someone just say something, instead of "taking" photos that weren't being saved? I'll never get those photos back if that's really what happened, and given that we took Nixon at the end of the day I have a BAD feeling that is exactly what happened and why NO one is willing to tell me where his pictures are....because there are NO pictures of him!
Look forward to another Santa update when I learn the final outcome! And pray to Goddess I see my son's pictures with Santa. Otherwise....I will leave my mark on Okinawa! You do not fuck with a family's Santa pictures! You just don't!