HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
(Editor's note: Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements.)
Hundreds of people dressed in neon T-shirts are situated across a field of green, holding white signs with bright red lettering high in the air. A group of Airmen, donning vibrant green tops, huddle together within several feet of a sign that reads “Zone 2.”
Volunteers veer in-and-out of the large crowd, searching for their zone leaders or friends.
Pages, scribed with home addresses from Alamogordo, N.M. to Tularosa, N.M., are passed between members of each zone. Within several minutes the cluttered field turns barren. The volunteers pile into small sedans and trucks yielding bright smiles and yard working tools, and speed off to help those in need, as part of Otero County’s 25th annual Day of Caring volunteer event Sept. 10, 2016.
The Day of Caring is hosted by The United Way of Otero County. The annual volunteer event aims to help disabled individuals and senior citizens within several communities including Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, N.M. and Tularosa, by providing assistance with household projects. Hundreds of Holloman Airmen and community members showed their support through cash donations or lending a helping hand, such as cutting wood, mowing lawns and moving furniture.
“I really want to show my appreciation to the community, letting them know that, ‘Hey, we do care about you, and we appreciate all of the support that the city gives to us,’” said Senior Airman Ervin, a Day of Caring volunteer, and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician with the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron. “Nothing beats seeing their smile. We come in the house, and they automatically light up with joy. They’re constantly saying, ‘Thank you.’ (They) don’t have to thank us. It’s what we came here to do.”
Holloman Airmen account for a majority of the Day of Caring volunteer event’s taskforce. Their involvement helps Holloman maintain a healthy relationship with the greater Otero County community, while also promoting the welfare of its citizens.
“(We) come together to do something good for people who can’t do it for themselves,” said Master Sgt. Greg, a Day of Caring volunteer, and the airmen dorm leader superintendent with the 49th CES. “That’s where the true power comes in. Look into yourself. Ask why you’re actually doing this. Let that be your drive. It reflects not only in us who show up in our event T-shirts, but also in the folks who we’re helping. That’s what’s most important.”