PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Santa and his “army” of elves visited Rutherford Middle and High school Friday afternoon. Instead of a sleigh, he showed up riding in a Humvee.

He was hoping to persuade students to join the Army when they graduate.

In November, Rutherford invited all of the military branches out for Veterans Day to showcase what they have to offer.

On Friday, for the first time since COVID, the army came back with Santa to spread Christmas cheer.

Rutherford Middle School Counselor Margot Gall said days like these show students they have options after graduating.

“We’re happy to bring it back this year because we think it’s really important for kids to understand that they are there’s another world outside of, you know, college,” Gall said. “Not all kids are ready for college and maybe the military might be something for them to do and the military has something to offer, so we thought it was a great way to showcase that.

Gall said she hopes this will get students interested in the military.