RUTLAND, Vt. – For the past couple of days, soldiers with the Vermont Army National Guard have been getting Vermonters in the holiday spirit with a special mission.

Operation Santa’s Convoy brought a parade of lights to 20 Vermont towns, with a wide range of vehicles all decked out in bright colors.

The two-day parade through Vermont was part of Governor Phil Scott’s ‘Vermont Lights the Way’ initiative, and gave kids across the state the chance to see Santa safely.

“It’s great, I love to see any event that brings families together and I know the National Guard works really hard on serving their mission to Vermont, especially when families and children are involved,” said Erynn Hazlett. “This is wonderful.”

For soldiers with the Vermont Army National Guard, Operation Santa’s Convoy is the kind of mission you don’t get very often, but even Santa needs a little help during a busy holiday season.

“There’s been people all across the route, big turnouts in each of the towns coming in and it’s been amazing to see that,” said Jesse Dunklee.

“It’s a great event, it’s incredible to see everyone lining the streets and all the hard work put into decorating these trucks and putting out the word to different communities,” said Joshua Brock.

And nobody understands hard work like the Clauses, who were both grateful to be on this quick vacation away from the busy North Pole.

“Been very excited to see our community and the support we’re getting, both for Santa and myself of course, and our servicemembers with the Vermont National Guard,” Mrs. Claus said.

“Oh man, it’s great working with the National Guard, and I love seeing everybody out, it’s amazing,” Santa Claus said. “It’s great seeing the communities out doing things, and I gotta tell you, it’s so much warmer than it is up north.”

This was the first year the Guard brought the convoy to Southern Vermont, and organizers hope to make the event ‘bigger and brighter’ next year.