By Staff Sgt. Patrice Clarke
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force teaches that an exceptional Airman is not only an Airman who excels at their assigned duty but one who pursues continuing education and is active within the community. Community involvement and volunteerism go hand-in-hand during April, which is National Volunteer Month.
“While volunteering is an individual choice it is almost an inherent part of being an Airman and being a quality wingman,” said Chief Master Sgt. Patrick McMahon, 50th Space Wing command chief. “There are many diverse opportunities to give back to our Air Force, Airmen and community. Finding the right fit just takes some personal reflection to identify what matters to you and then looking for the opportunity to give back.”
Veteran volunteer, Capt. Katherine Hebner, 4th Space Operations Squadron, has always enjoyed giving back.
“I was a camp counselor and before that a big sister with the Big Brother, Big Sister program,” said Hebner. “Now I volunteer at the soup kitchen and at the animal shelter. I like seeing how what I do helps other people and animals and it really does give back to the community.”
Hebner has rolled her volunteering spirit into her work environment as well.
“When I would work on crew, I would put together different volunteer activities that the whole crew could participate in,” said Hebner. “It would get everyone involved and I really thought that it brought us together as a crew.”
Senior Airman Samantha Salopek, the Schriever Airmen’s Council president, makes it a point to send out volunteer oppurtunities to all Schriever Airmen. Her volunteer activity of choice: volunteering with animals.
“I volunteer a lot and I really enjoy volunteering at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo,” said Salopek.
If animals don’t interest the Airmen, Salopek suggests volunteering for something a person enjoys.
“I usually tell folks that if they are interested in something there is a good chance that there is a volunteer opportunity out there for that same interest,” she said. “You just have to find it.”
There are many opportunities on and off base to volunteer. Salopek suggests finding a balance between the two.
“I personally enjoy volunteering off base because it shows the community though I’m not originally from here, I do work out at Schriever and I am a part of the local community,” she said.
McMahon echoed the sentiment, adding that no matter where you volunteer value is added.
“To me, volunteering and being involved has value for several important reasons,” said McMahon. “Organizationally I believe it enhances esprit de corps and it also affords the opportunity to strengthen community relations through on and off-base activities.”
Schriever’s Airman and Family Readiness Center regularly sends out emails with volunteer opportunities to anyone interested. To join their mailing list call 567-3920.
For more volunteer opportunities, Schriever members should contact their first sergeant or the presidents of the professional organizations here (Airmen’s Council, Network 5/6, Air Force Sergeants Association etc.).