Skip to comments.Airmen aid wounded warriors
Posted on 04/22/2010 6:27:35 PM PDT by SandRat
4/22/2010 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Under the charge of 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Top 3 organization affiliates, base members here helped ease the stress of other servicemembers while recuperating from injury or passing through on their way home to an emergency situation.
During a two-week clothing drive, organization members collected more than $8,200 in money and clothing to support wounded warriors and servicemembers on emergency leave orders.
"I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome of this project," said Master Sgt. Michelle McMeekin, the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Airman Readiness Center NCO and Top 3 lead on the clothing drive. "I just never expected the results we received. Personnel in this wing went all out and did an amazing job collecting this amount in donations in only two short weeks of fundraising. We really couldn't have done it without the amazing drive of our group and unit reps getting out there face to face."
Top 3 members selected the clothing drive as a community service project at Sergeant McMeekin's suggestion.
"In my working relationship with (379th Expeditionary Personnel Support for Contingency Operations) and wounded warriors, I've been given the opportunity to learn of the unique way in which they support our military members. This endeavor seemed like a beneficial way to reach out and serve our (area of responsibility) community," Sergeant McMeekin said. "It also seemed like a better use of our (senior) NCO corps than cleaning up a stretch of road or painting a building; a way to really 'give back' in a manner that is long-lasting. I personally experienced going on emergency leave during the fundraiser; I know how stressful it can be trying to get home quickly. The last thing anyone downrange needs to worry about is waiting for the first-available military flight because you don't have clothes to travel on a commercial flight."
Those who work directly with servicemembers who benefited from the effort agree.
"This project allows the wounded warriors to focus their energy on recovery rather than worrying about maintaining clothing standards and constantly laundering the minimal amount of uniforms they were able to carry," said 1st Lt. Ember Reed, a 379th Expeditionary Medical Group nurse and wounded warrior representative.
Regardless of Top 3 member's certainty that the cause was deserving of generosity, they weren't nearly so sure how many donations would actually be made or in what form they'd be made in.
"Going into it, I knew this was a worthwhile endeavor to honor, respect and help our fellow military servicemembers experiencing unfortunate circumstances," Sergeant McMeekin said. "I remember telling Master Sgt. Caryn Lynn (379th AEW Ground Safety) who stepped in when I had to go home, 'I'm reminding myself to be realistic with my expectations. If we bring in $1,500 to $2,000 that is a great turn out for such a short-run project. Don't be discouraged.'"
One of our greatest challenges was the unavailability of "cash on hand," she said. "Most people donate by giving whatever money they have in their pocket. In the area of responsibility, people typically don't carry around cash because of the EagleCash card. To alleviate this, we tried to think of multiple ways people could contribute by accepting cash, gift cards, or new or like-new clothing."
"We pulled in almost $8,200 in clothing, U.S. dollars, (host-nation currency), gift cards and even pogs," Sergeant McMeekin said. "Obviously, hearts really go out to our fellow servicemembers who are in unfortunate circumstances. This wing stepped up to show just how big our hearts are."
1st Lt. Kristian Reed provides a pair of shoes to a wounded Soldier April 1, 2010, in Southwest Asia. Lieutenant Reed is a 379th Expeditionary Medical Group clinic nurse and volunteer for the wounded warrior program designed to provide patients with clothes while receiving treatment.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kasey Zickmund)
Thanks for your good work SandRat. Any idea how we can help in this effort?
I’d do a web search on 379th Expeditionary Personnel Support for Contingency Operations for a start.
Failing that I’d go here http://www.af.mil/main/contactus.asp and pose my question.
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