By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — After the Waldo Canyon Fire spread into residential neighborhoods June 26 and displaced thousands from their homes, Lt. Col. Ann Igl, 21st Force Support Squadron commander, saw a need the wing could fill.
“Having about eight displaced families (in the 21st FSS), I recognized right away that there was going to be a need to get these people information,” she said.
Wing-wide, the fire displaced 96 military members.
To help military members from Peterson and Schriever AFBs and Department of Defense civilians, 21st FSS hosted the Waldo Canyon Support Fair July 2 in the R.P. Lee Youth Center.
“We tried to target different organizations that we knew they may need assistance from,” Igl said. It was important to host the fair as soon as possible, she said, because families were being allowed back in their houses and were going to have questions that needed quick answers.
On-base organizations in attendance included the Emergency Family Affairs Control Center, finance, military and civilian personnel offices, the chapel, mental health and others. Off-base organizations included USAA Federal Savings Bank, Care and Share Food Pantry and Veterans Affairs.
The youth center staff provided free babysitting for families attending the support fair.
“We’re all about supporting our people so we thought that it was really important to bring all the different agencies together and offer that type of support to everybody who might need it,” Igl said.
Master Sgt. Joseph Anderson, 21st Security Forces Squadron, and his family were evacuated from their home on the Air Force Academy for three days. Anderson was among the lucky people who returned home with no sort of damage and was looking just to get reimbursed for the gas he used moving important documents and valuables to a friend’s house. “We didn’t lose anything,” he said. “But for the people who lost things that are important to them this is a really helpful event.”
According to Capt. Cody Gravitt, 21st FSS, 88 people signed in at the support fair, but those who attended support an even larger number of people, thus even more were benefited by the helping agencies. There were also 40 packages, including food items, towels, pillows, hygiene products, water and sports drinks, given away by Care and Share Food Pantry.
“As a military community, we care deeply about all the residents of Colorado Springs,” Igl said. “We want to thank all the organizations that participated on short notice. The fact that we were able to come together and provide support is a true testament to the character and dedication of Team Pete and Schriever Air Force Base.”