The Fort Carson community, accustomed to being showered with generosity in appreciation for answering the nation’s call, has the opportunity to reciprocate the good deed during the 2009 Combined Federal Campaign, which runs through Nov. 25.
Fort Carson celebrated the annual opportunity to pay back to the community with a Combined Federal Campaign of the Pikes Peak Region kickoff fair Oct. 14 at the Special Events Center, featuring information booths from 90 of the more than 2,900 local, national and international charities supported through the CFC; 20 post agencies competing in a chili cook-off; and music provided by the Ivy Division Band.
According to the CFC Web site, the “iCan” theme for the 2009 campaign is based on the philosophy that each and every federal employee, military and civilian, can choose to say “iCan” make a difference by giving through the CFC. Fort Carson community members can say “iCan” change the lives of others; impact the community; provide aid to those in need; help find the cure for a deadly disease; provide housing for the homeless; feed the hungry; and impact illiteracy, according to the site.
Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, garrison commander and CFC regional representative chairman, noted the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign has raised more than $5 billion since its inception in 1964.
“Our personnel helped raise a record contribution of $276 million last year alone,” he said. Fort Carson exceeded its 2008 monetary goal by raising nearly $475,000. Due to the Mountain Post’s increased population with the return of the 4th Inf. Div., Fort Carson’s 2009 goal is a lofty $650,000.
As with every campaign, the ultimate goal of the CFC is ensuring its key workers make 100-percent contact with the staff, said Staff Sgt. David Braadland, installation CFC project officer.
“We want to make sure everyone at least has the opportunity to donate,” Braadland said.
He said the CFC brochures listing the numerous charities and the donor pamphlets have been issued to the units to distribute to their staffs. Active-duty Soldiers and Department of Defense civilians can elect for a payroll deduction, equally divided among each pay period beginning in January, or a one-time cash or check donation. Contract employees are limited to one-time cash or check donations. Online giving is new for the 2009 campaign. Prospective donors can conduct keyword searches for charities and make pledges at https://www.cfcnexus.org/ (underscore)peakcfc/.
Despite the hard economic times, Col. James Pasquarette, deputy commanding general of support, 4th Infantry Division, who spoke on behalf of the CFC of the Pikes Peak Region Regional Chairman Maj. Gen. David
G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, encouraged those in attendance to contribute to the CFC.
“In our economic times right now, it’s more important than ever to consider supporting CFC,” he said, noting the increasing jobless rate and decreasing budgets. “Luckily for most of us in this room … we have a fairly steady job. We have the ability to give just a little bit to whatever we think is personally important to us.”
Twelve years ago Pasquarette found out his brother had an incurable eye disease. The CFC provided Pasquarette an avenue to give money toward the research to find a cure for his brother’s illness.
“I think everybody has something like that out there, you can find a charity … that addresses something that is important in your life,” he said.
He concluded his remarks noting that Soldiers don’t join the Army for a job, they join because they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. “CFC is just a natural alignment with what our Soldiers do to serve their country: it’s about helping others.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel A. Dailey, senior enlisted leader for 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, noted there are numerous CFC-supported agencies that support Soldiers on a day-to-day basis.
“If you have ever seen the precious moments of Soldiers getting a (CARE) package in the mail after 14 or 15 months of deployment in the middle of Baghdad, I’ll tell you that that’s enough to convince me that ‘iCan’ (support the CFC),” he said.
Dailey noted many of the people attending the kickoff fair have been touched or know somebody who has been touched by CFC. “Since we (the military) have been supported for so long as a nation at war, it is our turn to go back and give to those people that continue to support us and that will support us for the years to come. I ask you to just dig deep in your hearts when it’s time to give this year.”
For more information on the CFC of the Pikes Peak Region, visit http://www.peakcfc.com, or contact Braadland at 447-5135.