By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — “Service before self is that virtue within us all, which elevates the human spirit, compels us to reach beyond our meager selves to attach our spirit to something bigger than we are,” said retired Gen. John P. Jumper, 17th Air Force Chief of Staff.
Every Airman is charged to exemplify the Air Force core values; which inspired Senior Airman William Nash, 50th Comptroller Squadron financial services officer, to volunteer for a mission trip to Jamaica.
Nash said he attended the mission trip because he wanted to do something selfless, bigger than himself.
“While we were in Jamaica, we worked on the Worthington Friends Church and we also constructed an additional building, an annex,” he said. “The additional building is to be used for worship, Sunday school and prayer.”
Nash said the labor was sometimes difficult.
“During the six days we were there, we put up dry wall, plastered the walls, we painted the walls, caulked the windows and even worked with concrete,” he said. “The work was hard, but it was rewarding.”
Lt. Col. William Spencer, former 21st Space Wing chaplain, lead the mission trip.
“What’s amazing to me is how diverse this trip was,” he said. “We had Airmen of different ages, careers, bases and cultural backgrounds attend. To me, that shows our desire to serve is intrinsic.”
Nash said the trip was humbling and he is grateful he went with 12 others who shared similar values.
“It reminded me of my deployment,” he said. “The relationships created with others who attended are unique. When you eat, sleep and work together all day, it forms a really powerful bond.”
Nash said the trip helped him appreciate his quality of life.
“It really alters your perspective,” Nash said. “This trip helped me understand it is a privilege to have clean clothing, a bed to sleep in and a shelter to protect you from the weather.”
Nash said despite the long days, the work was fulfilling.
“Besides the construction, we also volunteered at an elderly person’s home, where we offered food, told stories and even just gave hugs,” he said. “Everyone is human, and despite where you’re from, you deserve to be treated like one.”
Spencer said serving others is a part of being human.
“As human beings, we have a hunger to serve — it’s a part of our DNA,” he said. “We’re made to serve, not to be served and when you get uncomfortable and put the needs of others first, you will usually find your own needs and issues will be solved.”
Nash said he is very grateful to have been able to attend the trip.
“We always hear about the core values, but do we always practice them?” Nash said. “Having a chance to practice [service before self] in such a large way was a really good feeling.”
Spencer said serving in the military is honorable, but going beyond that is rewarding.
“There’s a place for you,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not. There are always opportunities to serve and I challenge everyone to get out there, get uncomfortable and serve. By serving you can be the blessing some people are looking for.”
Oville Morais, Worthington Friends Church care taker and security in Kingston, said he is thankful for the Airmen’s help.
“The Airmen were very helpful, kind and loving,” he said. “They were like the family I wish I had. One love and respect.”