Airmen assist community with Day of Caring
By Staff Sgt Sherree Grebenstein, 167th Airlift Wing
/ Published September 15, 2009
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Call them lifesavers.
That's what a group of volunteers tasked with a 2009 United Way Day of Caring project at the Berkeley County Boys & Girls Club are calling two Airmen from the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg.
"They saved the day," said Vickey Wilcher, executive director for Court Appointed Special Advocates, who along with a small group of volunteers pitched in and grabbed rakes and shovels in an attempt to spread stone gravel over the club's parking lot in downtown Martinsburg.
But the task was a bit overwhelming for Wilcher, volunteers from Job Corps and Felicia Fuller, who also volunteers with CASA. Essroc reportedly donated two loads of gravel for the parking lot off South Queen Street. Combined the loads stood about five feet high and 10 feet wide.
A problem developed when volunteers attempted to spread the gravel evenly across the approximately 50 feet by 100 feet-wide parking lot. Volunteers agreed that it was more of a job then they could handle.
"We would have never gotten it done," Fuller said matter-of-factly.
Enter the West Virginia Air National Guard.
After trying three different sources that might have some motorized machinery to make the task move quicker, it dawned on Fuller that the solution to the volunteers' problem was probably only a phone call away.
Fuller called her sister, Tracy Myers, at the 167th Airlift Wing in an effort to get their mission accomplished.
"She comes in handy every now and then," Fuller said with a smile.
Myers, a resource advisor for the 167th Airlift Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron, presented the volunteers' dilemma to her chain of command who in turn tapped two Airmen to report with a T190 Bobcat tracked skid steer to the project's site. The pair's mission was to literally take the load of gravel off the volunteers' hands
"Tracy is a get it done kind of woman," Fuller said. "As soon as she heard about our problem she was so willing to help us."
Fuller said her sister thought it was a great opportunity for the West Virginia Air National Guard to lend a hand to the community in its time of need.
Sentiments shared by the Airmen who were tasked with the mission.
As Master Sgt. Kevin Link worked the Bobcat's controls, Tech Sgt. Mike Stanley watched from a few feet away as the gravel was spread smoothly over the parking lot's surface.
"It's good to help the community out," Stanley said. "To get off of the base and let the community see our faces and show them we are here for them."
The Airman said members of the Civil Engineer Squadron are no strangers to helping out the community when called upon. From helping with a ballpark on Rock Cliff Drive to setting up a stage for a meeting at Martinsburg's community center, Stanley said the 167th Airlift Wing civil engineers are up to the task.
Amber Glennon, unit director for the Berkeley County Boys & Girls Club, said it was "awesome" how the 167th Airlift Wing stepped up when asked for help.
"This just goes to show that you don't have to go across the sea to be a hero," Glennon said. "You can be one right here at home."
Wilcher said she was touched by how quickly the local air base responded.
"To see these (Airmen) out here is really cool," she said.
Taking a break from the controls of the Bobcat, Link looked satisfied by the work he had accomplished so far.
"It's a joy to be able to come out and help," he said. "I'm glad that the base allowed us to come out and help them."
Officials with the 167th Airlift Wing said the Airmen were allowed to assist on the project because the United Way is a non-profit organization.
Link added that helping the community is what the Air National Guard is all about.