By Capt. Justin Dawson
4th Space Control Squadron
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — The U.S. Air Force holds its core values dear, and the 4th Space Control Squadron Pirates at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., are no different.
Exemplifying “service before self,” the 4th SPCS has participated in the “Big Give” since 2008. The Big Give is an annual volunteer project ‘contest’ hosted by the 49th Wing at Holloman AFB. This annual contest provides teams a chance to foster relationships with the community and give back in dramatic fashion. This year alone, the event saved the local community more than $272,000 in repairs.
The 4th SPCS “Pirates Providing” team took on the task of stripping and painting the base middle school, which had not been done in 10 years. Work began July 21, with volunteers spending several days stripping and priming the exterior of the school and its doors. When the painting of the school and gym actually began, the Pirates held fundraisers and a school supplies drive for the students. In the end, the team was able to raise enough money for all of the supplies needed to finish the project with enough extra to purchase and install a new marquee for the school.
In all, 36 Airmen and their family members spent 858 volunteer hours over three weeks on the project, doing what would have cost the school an estimated $60,000. The Pirates’ fundraising efforts raised $2,500 for school supplies and $1,400 for the new marquee, but the Pirate team wasn’t finished yet. At the conclusion of the Big Give, contest winners are selected for several different categories of awards. One such category is the People’s Choice Award, in which the winner is selected through online voting, and the 4th SPCS team won the People’s Choice Award of $1,000 for the Large Team category. Continuing to represent the 21st SW and emulate the Air Force Core Values, the 4th SPCS team donated the entire $1,000 reward toward helping the school pay for the new marquee.
The local school showed their gratitude for the work and honored the Pirates with certificates of appreciation.
Giving back to the community is one way in which a military unit can show its appreciation for the support of the local community and forge a stronger relationship. The “Big Give” was an opportunity for the Pirates to make their community a better place to work, live and visit, and also cultivate a closer relationship with their host base by dominating their high ground.