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Involvement Pays You Back!

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
If you've had the chance to talk with me recently during my travels around base, it's likely we've visited about the I Am challenge and putting Wow into how you do business. The Toy Trot, Santa's Attic, Operation Toy Drop and Super Bowl Bingo are just some of the events held in the last two months that have been possible due in large parts to individuals getting involved and have definitely been Wow for the folks who have participated, especially huge was the recent Super Bowl BINGO, it was a record setter! Most tickets sold, and largest sales for the day at the Club ... it was awesome! If you didn't go this year, you need to next year for sure, and if you are a regular attendee, I'll definitely see you next year! The impact of Super Bowl BINGO is felt throughout the year at other MWR events. Speaking of the numerous MWR events we have throughout the year, I know many of you attend these events, but you may not be aware of the number of people or the amount of time volunteered to put everything together from start to finish. 

The number of people involved is sometimes smaller than you would think, and the time required is much more than you would ever imagine. This is why to maintain the "Quality of Living" at Pope we all have come to expect, I need each of you to become part of a team designing and executing a Wow event. It's easier than you think, and more often than not, these events in some way count upon one or more of our private organizations for success. The private organizations I'm talking about are the "Top 3," "CGOC," "Rising 6," "NCOA," and the "Chief's Group" to name a few, but each squadron normally has at least one professional organization we depend upon also. There are many private organizations on Pope, and since I only have a limited amount of space here to provide my perspective on their benefits, you can find more information on any of these organizations on our EIM site. Each and every organization has a dedicated page with information on how to get involved as well as contact information for their executive councils. Every week it seems we're thanking a private organization for something they've done. For example, many make monetary donations so we can have first-class events like our quarterly and annual awards ceremonies and our monthly observance luncheons. 

But it's the way our private organizations make that money to donate to our events that should mean something to you. They are out selling food, drinks, coins, T-shirts and other items at events on base like the Pope Box Derby or Military Family Appreciation Week, and they go downtown too, when organizations like Cape Fear Harley Davidson open their doors to us in an opportunity to fundraise. It takes nothing more than a few hours of your time to make a difference by getting involved in any organization. And what do you get out of it? Besides the great events we put on for the benefit of our personnel, you'll enjoy the tremendous opportunities to meet your Team Pope peers. You get the potential for serious payback. With so many different MAJCOMs and missions on this base, I guarantee you'll meet somebody new and learn something interesting about the Air Force at the first meeting you attend. The strong personal relationships you'll build through these professional organizations will inevitably make your day-to-day mission responsibilities happen easier and you'll gain an enhanced perspective on how critical it is we all coordinate our activities to guarantee our collective success. You'll find these organizations provide an opportunity for networking. When you meet Airmen from another part of the base, the relationship you build fosters a culture of mutual respect and trust. You'll develop contacts within numerous functional areas and create a network of subject matter experts who you can go to when you have questions pertaining to their specialty areas.

Development as an Airman, regardless of rank, becomes much easier when you are part of a private organization. The Group Commanders and Superintendents plus Chief Ackerman and I make it a point to regularly attend meetings, especially when invited, which creates an open forum for you to ask a wide range of questions about anything you would like to discuss, like education, past personal experiences and even the ongoing and future activities of Pope. 

I hope you take the time to get involved with a private organization: ask a co-worker, log on to EIM or just keep an eye open to your email for the next meeting announcement. You won't regret it. 

This week I am recognizing some special folks who kept Pope fully mission ready during the snow storm Jan. 20. Personnel from the 43rd Civil Engineer Squadron, the 43rd Operational Support Squadron and the 43rd Logistics Readiness Squadron went above and beyond by keeping our runway and roads fully functional and providing safe transportation home for more than 250 Army soldiers returning from more than 15 months of being deployed. Efforts like these make me proud and accurate when I tell everyone Pope has the best Airmen in the Air Force and result in us being named the 2008 AMC nominee for the AFA Unit Citation of Honor, that's two of the last three years! Believe me, your Individual Actions Matter everyday!

Thanks for all you do, your ongoing commitment, and the sacrifices of your families. Remember as a Wingman, Leader and Warrior, we may not be great all the time, but we can always do our best and always do what's right ... and it's always critical to appreciate your Individual Actions Matter -pledge with me out loud (so others can hear you) I AM responsible, I AM accountable, and I AM going to make a positive difference! Have a Popetastic week and be an impact Airman with Wow!