12th Air Force breaks service record, challenges 355th FW
By Tech. Sgt. Kerry Jackson , 12th Air Force and Air Forces Southern Public Affairs
/ Published December 26, 2007
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The pressure was on Saturday as 12th Air Force Headquarters Airmen hustled to meet a 12 p.m. deadline.
The challenge: show what 45 Airmen working together can do to help more than 10,000 Tucson residents in need...in just 3 short hours.
The team, who enlisted the help of their commander, vice commander, and command chief, volunteered their time and muscle to the Tucson Community Food Bank, a local charity striving to reduce the impact of hunger and chronic malnutrition through programs of advocacy and nutrition education.
"I was impressed, but not amazed at how many emergency-food boxes our team managed to fill," said Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, commander 12th Air Force and Air Force Southern. "This is airpower in action -- we tackled this mission like any of our military missions. Every box counted, and the more boxes filled the more families we were able to serve."
Hinting at a challenge to the neighboring 355th Fighter Wing, the general joked, "What
happened Saturday was significant -- I doubt anyone will come close to breaking our record."
So just how well did the team do?
Does stuffing 2,627 boxes, totaling 60,406 lbs, with 180,000 units of food tell you anything?
As the clock ate away time, and the 12 p.m. deadline approached, the team's pace seemed to double as every wheel on the 12-foot conveyer belt spun furiously. The first sergeant on duty provided a last minute surge of energy; motivation only a first sergeant can provide. The team, working alongside their leadership, quickly became more focused and more decisive in tackling their mission than in the first 2 hours and 45 minutes.
At exactly 12 p.m. the mission ended. Silently, the Airmen waited for the results.
The food bank coordinator announced the final tally and the team let out a roar of excitement. Working as one, they had broken a volunteer record. After three hours, 45 Airmen had proven what will, compassion and the drive to serve can do to impact the lives of many.
The food bank coordinator announced the final tally and the team let out roar of excitement. Working as one, they had broken a volunteer record. After three hours, 45 Airmen had proven what will, compassion and the drive to serve can do to impact the lives of many.
Each emergency-food box is designed to assist a family of four. Based on this calculation, the team's contribution impacted an estimated 10,508 Tucson residents, 60 percent of which are children. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season the demand for emergency food increases significantly -- prompting a corresponding need for volunteers.
"We are extremely grateful for the volunteer work that Davis-Monthan AFB and 12th Air Force Airmen have given to the food bank." said Joy Tucker, senior vice president of Facilities Management for the Tucson Community Food Bank.
"We've experienced a 25-28 percent increase in demand for (emergency) food boxes and would not be able to keep up with the packing of food boxes if not for the support of (local) Airmen. They do an outstanding job and we truly enjoy having them with us. It's a pleasure to work with the military and we look forward to their continued support."
Providing service to the community is nothing new for 12th Air Force and Air Forces Southern. The organization, whose area of responsibility includes Central, South America and the Caribbean, provides a significant amount of humanitarian support to underserved communities. Services range from free medical and dental care to robust construction projects throughout the region.
Doing something to serve your community doesn't require a lot of money, or even a lot of time. It only requires action and an ounce of compassion to help those in need, explained Ms. Tucker.
To help the more than 200,000 Tucson children and their families in need this holiday season Airmen are encouraged to donate their time to the Tucson Community Food Bank or other deserving community charity organizations.
To volunteer, call Kristen Hershberger, the volunteer coordinator for the Tucson Food Bank, at 622-0525 ext 204 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.