By Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Airman & Family Readiness Center Volunteer Program ceremony held April 27 recognized the Airmen who epitomized the U.S. Air Force core value of Service Before Self by giving back to their community through volunteering.
The A&FRC Volunteer Program connects individuals and groups to provide assistance opportunities. Each year, groups and individuals are nominated for recognition; of the seven total award categories, two people and one group were selected from the installation.
“Partnerships with organizations and volunteers is the glue that keeps this base and community together,” said Jean Taylor-Payne, A&FRC community readiness specialist. “Partnerships give the community a sense of connection and it makes people feel like they’re part of it.”
Although participants represented a variety of career-fields, all had one thing in common: they freely gave time to help others.
Staff Sgt. Richard Gibson, 19th Maintenance Squadron cyber security liaison, dedicated more than 300 hours to the base and community at his church and surrounding organizations.
Groups of three or more individuals
The Little Rocks Spouses’ Club contributed more than 1,700 hours to fundraising and assisting with or creating installation events.
Volunteer Excellence Award
Wayne Ojala, A&FRC community readiness consultant, fostered children from the local community and spent more than 40 hours training to qualify.
With the efforts of the winners and nominees, the combined time spent giving back to the base and community totaled 87,174 hours, or the equivalent of more than $2 million in labor. Volunteers made this possible by communicating with organizations to develop relationships within the community.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with volunteers for many years and I have always been amazed by how much they give and how little they view their contribution,” said Sharon Thompson, A&FRC chief. “Many times, they don’t even see what they do as volunteering – it’s just what they’ve always done to help.”
For more information about volunteering, contact the A&FRC at 501-987-2667.