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Volunteers Always Step Up

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Todd Wivell
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
"Supporting the local communities that we live in through volunteer efforts is an important endeavor," said Chief Master Sgt. Douglas Ackerman, 43rd Airlift Wing Command Chief. "Demonstrating our core values and what we represent to our civilian neighbors, helps enhance community perceptions of our professional force. The positive impact we have on our communities on a daily basis is both rewarding and displays a whole-person concept to those communities." 

Volunteers from Pope are never hard to find. At almost every single event on Pope there will be at least one volunteer helping out. From the Tops in Blue performances to the Veteran's home visit, from the Pope Spouses Association sponsored Saint Nick project to Super Bowl Bingo, from the Pope Regatta to the Pope Box Derby, volunteers are abound. 

"I volunteer because I enjoy helping others," said Airman 1st Class Jason Hubbartt, 14th Air Support Operations Squadron and last quarter's Volunteer of the Quarter award winner. "My family and I have been on the receiving end of assistance in the past and I can't forget how much it meant to all of us. Even if I give a couple hours here on Pope, volunteer to provide a briefing or assist downtown, I think of it as my own way of giving back." 

Airman Hubbartt stressed it was his obligation to give back to the communities of Fayetteville, Spring Lake and Pope as they show support to us so much. He felt that not only does it set an example for other to emulate but stresses the importance of helping those in need or those less fortunate. 

"I hope my efforts encourage others to give back," said Airman Hubbartt. "In today's world, with everyone having busy schedules at work and at home, I think it is easy to get caught up and forget about those needing our assistance. If we all just donate a few hours a week, it will really add up and we can feel good knowing we have given back to the community." 

"I volunteer because I get to meet others from the base, the community and have fun all in one," said Staff Sgt. Krista Fitzgerald, 43rd AW Antiterrorism office. "If it was not for the community and their support we could not do what we do without issues. Having a great working relationship with your community is needed to ensure we have mission success." 

Sergeant Fitzgerald volunteers up to 20 hours or more each month. She recommends that everyone volunteer by finding something that interests them and going out and supporting that interest. She recommended becoming a coach for a local youth sports team, reading at the base library on Friday's or becoming a mentor through programs such as Big Brother, Boy & Girl Scouts, or Drug Education for Youth to name a few. 

"Since I was a little girl, my parents raised me and my three brothers to help those who were less fortunate," said Master Sgt. Julie Smedley, 43rd Operations Support Squadron. "I've always enjoyed being there for others, be it people or animals. It's all about the smiles on their faces, the warm hugs people give, the wagging tails of adopted animals and the comfort feeling, knowing that I have been part of something to make life a little better for others." 

Sergeant Smedley said she volunteers up to an average of 120 hours a month. Some of her volunteer efforts go to the Special Olympics in which over the past 20 years she has donated with the local, state and international programs, regardless of age. Her biggest satisfaction is the laughter, smiles and warmth she gets from knowing on those days she has helped children and adults overcome their disabilities to become a winner. 

Volunteering is something that is just not a part of Pope or a part of the Air Force, it is a part of life. It is clear that the volunteer program at Pope continues to grow and is a strong based program but more volunteers can always be used. Find a program that interests you most, whether it be Habitat for Humanity, the DEFY program, working as tax preparer for base servicemembers or volunteering to help an Airman move, the volunteer programs out there are endless.