Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Pillage, plunder, rifle and loot? Not these pirates

(Courtesy photo) From left to right: Senior Airman Ricky Marshall, Staff Sergeant Armando Matute, Staff Sgt. Brandi Cummings, Staff Sgt. Michael Zellner, Staff Sgt. Amy St. John, Staff Sgt. Laura Garcia, Staff Sgt. Steve Bender, Staff Sgt. Steven St. John, Staff Sgt. Kelly Bender, Tech. Sgt. Jason Jaworski, Staff Sgt. Marge Errington, Capt. Alison Bonanno, Master Sgt. Karl Kuykendall and Master Sgt. Jennifer Willis of the 4th Space Control Squadron, gave 470 hours toward the Alamogordo community in this year’s “Big Give” competition. The team raised more than $3,300 for food, money and school supplies.

By Staff Sgt. Margery Errington and Tech. Sgt. Jason Jaworski

4th Space Control Squadron

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me. We pillage, plunder, rifle and loot.

Society may have these opinions on what a pirate’s characteristics are, but for the Pirates of the 4th Space Control Squadron, a pirate’s life is about fundraising and giving back to the local community — not pillaging and stealing loot.

As the new school year quickly approaches, families are rushing out with their school lists in hand, to pile all required supplies into their shopping carts.

Families in New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department is responsible for foster and adopted children, so picking up the bill for all school supplies and food assistance isn’t possible or feasible.

That’s where the 4th SPCS Pirates stepped in. Fifteen squadron members teamed to give 470 hours toward the Alamogordo community in this year’s “Big Give” competition.

These generous men and women, who called themselves the “Pirates Providing for Alamo,” decided to assist CYFD by providing 87 backpacks filled with school supplies to hand out to every foster and adopted child in the program. On top of supplying the stuffed backpacks to each child, 42 food baskets were also donated to all 42 families.

This three week project was no easy task.

The squadron started fundraising with a Krispy Kreme doughnut sale, and since the closest Krispy Kreme store is located in El Paso, Texas, three 4th SPCS Airmen including Tech. Sgt. Jason Jaworski, Staff Sgt. Armando Matute and Staff Sgt. Margery Errington pulled a trailer to El Paso the night before the doughnut sale.

A half-hour into the drive, the rear tire on Matute’s vehicle blew-out. After receiving a ride from a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent back to Alamogordo to pick up another truck, the trio were on their way again to collect the 450 dozen doughnuts for the sale. The Pirates for Alamo raised $1380 with the doughnut sale which helped to purchase backpacks, school supplies, food, and gift cards for the families.

The Pirates also sat in front of the base exchange, commissary and other local stores to solicit food, school supplies and monetary donations. The total amount the team raised in food, money and school supplies totaled $3386.66.

On July 31, the group met and separated all the donated products into categories — the entire garage was filled — which drew an “Impressive” response from the “Big Give” coordinator Amanda Gallagher, 49th Force Support Squadron Marketing director.

It was refreshing for the entire 4th SPCS “Pirates Providing for Alamo” team to give back to the community. To see the smiles of the kids receiving their very own backpacks, and witness the appreciation of the foster families receiving food baskets and gift cards, and be a help to the non-profit organization of CYFD made all of the long hours and Big Give effort worthwhile.

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