By Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — In 2019, Team Schriever placed emphasis on maintaining a close relationship between the installation and the local community.
The Child Development Center partnered with the National Defense Industrial Association to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics projects to elementary-age children, encouraging space-related studies at an earlier age.
According to the NDIA factsheet, the organization drives strategic dialogue in national security, identifying key issues and leveraging the knowledge and experience of its military, government, industry, and academic members to address them.
Tom Taylor, NDIA Rocky Mountain Chapter vice president of workforce development, who visited the CDC, emphasized the importance of the relationship between Team Schriever’s CDC and the NDIA.
“The future depends on the early education of children. We can’t wait to introduce them to the importance of science, technology, engineering and math curriculums when they’re in high school,” Taylor said. “We need to put more focus on elementary and middle-school STEM courses.”
Schriever’s CDC leadership also highlighted the benefit of collaborating with an organization in local community in support of children who are enrolled in the CDC’s school-age care program.
“STEM is a required curriculum within our program,” said Mary Barkley, 50th Force Support Squadron Child and Youth Services flight chief. “We researched outside resources and liked what the NDIA had to offer. Children respond better to hands-on activities when introducing new skills, and Tom’s program fit right into what we were looking for.”
More than 50 Colorado Springs community leaders met with installation leaders during the annual State of the Base.
State of the Base provides Schriever leaders the opportunity to bolster partnerships with Colorado Springs, El Paso County and state civic and community leaders and emphasize the theme of growth, expansion and partnership.
The event also provided base leadership the opportunity to introduce the newest members of wing leadershipyah and Col. Dean Sniegowski, 310th Space Wing commander and Army Col. Edward Anderson, National Space Defense Center deputy director, giving them the opportunity to brief community leaders on their respective mission areas as well.
Sniegowski discussed the relationship between the 50th SW and 310th SW, and how the community plays a role for the citizen Airmen of the 310th SW.
“Twenty percent of our reserve Airmen are fulltime but the other 80 percent are probably working for your companies,” Sniegowski said. “In fact, one of our Airmen is one of your companies.”
He went on to extend appreciation for the contribution of the community in support of the citizen Airmen.
“You allow them to continue to wear their uniform and serve their country. I want to thank you for that,” he said.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay visited with Team Schriever to learn about the base and show his support for men and women in the armed forces and talk about his path to the NFL.
“Hard work is something you can’t run from,” he said. “You work hard or you don’t. Everybody wants something, but you will never get to something if you aren’t willing to work for it. It could take time — days, weeks, months or even years, but if you have the drive, it will almost certainly pay off. You just have to be patient.”
During his visit, Lindsay sent a command to a satellite, communicate with deployed assets via a military satellite communication system and train with Security Forces in a crisis response simulator.
“I’m grateful for our troops,” Lindsay said. “We would not have this beautiful country without them, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to play football. It means a lot for me to come out here; you guys put your lives on the line for people like me, and I’m thankful.”
The base hosted Todd Hennessay, Colorado Holocaust Educators director and educator, to give a presentation during Days of Remembrance to share the history of the Holocaust and the work happening to record the accounts of survivors to preserve the information for future generations.
Hennessay said more historical evidence has surfaced in the last five years than in the previous 45 years.
“The Greatest Generation is passing on and a lot of service members from that time collected photographs and documented meeting survivors, or in some cases perpetrators, and when they came home all of that would go into a box,” he said.
Col. James Smith, 50th Space Wing commander, also provided remarks during the event stressing the importance of recalling the tragic event, the victims and those who fought against Nazi persecution.
“Today’s event helps us to remember not only the oppressed, but also those who ultimately helped with the liberation of the concentration camps, and the defeat of tyranny,” Smith said.
Smith left those in attendance with a question to think on as they walked through the displays on hand: “How are you working to connect with the Airmen around you and respect those who may be different from you?”
In mid-August, 18 Airmen from the 50th Operations Support Squadron donated blood in response to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Second Lt. Charles Cooper, 50th OSS student, organized the event, and said each Airman donated a pint of blood to support the victims of the shootings.
“Donating blood is a pretty selfless act,” he said. “The fact we had 18 people came out on such short notice really shows our Airmen embody ‘service before self.’”
Airman 1st Class Sophia Carbajal, 50th OSS student, was one of the 18 Airmen who donated blood and welcomed the opportunity.
“There’s been a high demand for blood donations and with everything going on, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to give back to the community,” Carbajal said.
The Schriever Fire Department sent two firefighters and a vehicle to combat the Blaney Road fire approximately five miles northwest of the base to provide support to the El Paso County fire suppression efforts.
“One life and several homes were saved during the emergency,” Jerry Quintana, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron lead firefighter, said. “It’s always a pleasure to serve the community in any way we can.”
Also in October, approximately 30 Schriever Airmen volunteered to help military veterans during the 21st annual Homeless Veteran Stand Down at the Colorado Springs City Auditorium.
Lt. Col. Michael Schriever, 2nd Space Operations Squadron director of operations and military assistance coordinator for El Paso County Homeless Veteran Coalition, said Schriever Air Force Base has supported the coalition since 2008.
“There are multiple things our coalition works toward,” Schriever said. “Throughout the year, we offer outreach to homeless veterans or support for veterans who may be headed for homelessness. We receive a couple of grants, and we receive assistance requests from other organizations.”
Events such as Homeless Veteran Stand Down provide local service members a chance to connect with their local community.
“Having the footprint of our Airmen at the event shows our willingness to be in the community and show how much we care,” Schriever said. “Service to your country is honorable and a great thing to do, but service to your fellow person is just as honorable and important.”
Schriever Airmen played a role in the annual Colorado Springs Veterans Day Parade in Colorado Springs, Colo. and wing leadership provided support as the Ellicott community honored Veterans Day in an assembly at Ellicott High School Nov. 12.
Additionally during 2019, Schriever members supported sporting event festivities by volunteering, throwing out the first pitches and singing the national anthem for the Rocky Mountain Vibes, who held several Military Appreciation Nights and demonstrated their commitment to community support through volunteer opportunities such as creating care packages for deployed Airmen and the annual Angel Tree program supporting base and Ellicott families in need.
Schriever showcased the base’s mission, vision and priorities in more than 130 civic meetings, community events and tours.
Through these events, relationships between the base and local community were bolstered, and a way forward for future partnerships was sought as both communities supported each other.
As Team Schriever moves into 2020, it will continue to be dedicated to connecting with the community by hosting annual events like the State of the Base, refining the Ellicott community relationship, and seeking more ways to take part in the community.
Editor’s note: Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster, Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely and Cheri Dragos-Pritchard contributed to this article.