Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Helping hand to start school year

(U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Golembesky)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Amy Parker, a volunteer with the Lotshaw Helping Hands charity and former Airman herself, takes time to welcome service members and their children from Peterson AFB before they head in to shop for school clothes. The charity donated gift cards and bicycles for service members.

By Michael Golembesky

21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For children, the beginning of a new school year can be a very exciting time, but for parents dealing with a tight family budget, it can also be stressful to buy new school supplies.

Thanks to help for a charitable organization, families from Peterson Air Force Base had some of that stress relieved July 25.

The event came about by a chance meeting on a train ride. Somewhere between Durango and Silverton, Colo., Charlie and Linda Lotshaw, founders of the Lotshaw Helping Hands charity, met Lt. Col. Timothy Porter, 21st Space Wing chaplain.

“We met Charlie and Linda on the train and started talking to them. We shared our stories and they told us what they did,” said Porter.

Charlie and Linda Lotshaw, founders of the Lotshaw Helping Hands charity saw an opportunity to give back and say “thank you” to service members and their children.

Six months later, the Lotshaw Helping Hands charity and its team of volunteers pulled into Colorado Springs to provide assistance to service members from Peterson and Fort Carson with their back-to-school shopping needs.

“They risk their lives for us to keep this country safe and when they come back and have trouble buying things and supporting their children, that bothers me,” said Charlie Lotshaw.

The two-day event was held at a local department store where more than 120 children of service members were each given a $100 gift card to purchase new clothes for the upcoming school year.

“The children and parents from Peterson AFB who participated in this shopping spree really appreciated the acts of kindness and generosity from Lotshaw Helping Hands Ministry,” Porter said. “It is encouraging to me that the Lotshaws, out of love for God and country, are thinking about the sacrifices our service members make in order to protect our way of life and they wanted to express their appreciation to them in a tangible way by this gift of love.”

After service members and their children were finished shopping for clothes, they went outside to see Charlie, where they each received a brand-new backpack for school and a small toy from the donations table. The children left the event with a smile; and their parents with peace-of-mind.

“I was enlisted; I was delighted to have been given the opportunity to come here and help their children,” said Amy Parker, volunteer and former Airmen in the 1950s. “They are like my kids.”

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