PIX 11 Celebrates "PIX Christmas In Iraq"

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PIX 11's Marvin Scott, Senior Correspondent for PIX News, Jill Nicolini, PIX Morning News reporter and PIX cameraman David Kimmel are returning to Iraq where they will again celebrate "PIX Christmas in Iraq" and spend the holidays with Tri-State area soldiers. The PIX news group will depart for Iraq on December 13th on a mission aimed at bolstering the morale of servicemen and women far from home for the holidays, visiting with members of the 389th CSSB in Scania, Iraq. The team will then be hosted by Task Force Marne at COB (Contingency Operating Base) Speicher near Tikrit in northern Iraq.

Beginning Monday, December 21st, Scott and Nicolini will broadcast live twice daily for PIX Morning News and PIX News at Ten. Kimmel will again serve as the photographer, editor and co-producer of the project. They will tell soldier stories and show how they live and work at a military outpost in Iraq and the troops will be given the opportunity to send greetings, via satellite, to their families back home. The broadcasts from Iraq will air on PIX through Christmas day. Additionally, PIX will air a 30-minute special that will air in PIX News Close Up on Sunday, December 27th at 6am.

This will be the fourth holiday visit for Scott and Kimmel who made similar visits to Iraq in 2004, 2006 and 2008, and the second visit for Nicolini who also traveled in 2008.

As part of "PIX Christmas in Iraq," the news team plans to bring taped greetings from Mayor Bloomberg and other New Yorkers, along with a taste of the Big Apple for a Christmas Eve celebration. Once again, Nathan's Famous is providing the hot dogs and Juniors is donating plenty of cheesecake and DHL Express, which has supported the three previous trips, will fly the cargo to the base. Scott and Nicolini will present Xbox game consoles from the Adopt A Solider platoon, DVD players from American Citizens for Soldiers in Service, gift cards from Modell's Sporting Goods, gift baskets from Fairway Markets, NYPD and FDNY hats, plus other gifts to the local soldiers during a Christmas Eve reception where they will also hand out pre-paid phone cards for soldiers to call home, provided by AT&T. In addition, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) is sending over more than 100 GI Teddy bears that sing "God Bless the USA."

"There is no greater way to give back to our community than to support our troops, especially those stationed overseas," said Scott. "The whole goal of the trip is to be with soldiers from our area, let them know they've not been forgotten, and bring them a big New York hug for Christmas. Bringing a smile to a soldier's face and accepting a handshake of thanks makes this one of the most rewarding things I have done in my career."

PIX Assistant News Director John Houseman said, "This is our fourth holiday visit to the troops and each trip has been filled with heartwarming moments. These brave men and women are thousands of miles from home and our reporters remind them that we are all with them in spirit awaiting their safe return. The reaction of the soldiers' families and our viewers is a great source of pride for our station."

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