4th SPCS Pirates -- not your typical pirates

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Margery Errington and Tech. Sgt. Jason Jaworski
  • 4th Space Control Squadron
Yo ho yo ho a pirate's life for me. We pillage, plunder, rifle and loot.

Society may have these opinions of what a pirate's characteristics are, but for the pirates of the 4th Space Control Squadron, a typical pirate's life is not about pillaging and stealing loot, but about fundraising and giving back to the local community.

As the new school year quickly approaches, families are rushing out, their school lists in hand, to pile all of their required supplies into their shopping carts.

Families in New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) are responsible for foster and adopted children, so picking up the bill for all school supplies and food assistance isn't possible or feasible.

That's where the 4th SPCS Pirates stepped in. Fifteen members of the squadron selflessly volunteered 470 hours of their time to the Alamogordo community in this year's "Big Give" competition.

These generous men and women, who called themselves the "Pirates Providing for Alamo," decided to assist CYFD by providing 87 backpacks filled with school supplies to hand out to every foster and adopted child in the program. On top of supplying the stuffed backpacks to each child, 42 food baskets were also donated to all of the families.

This three week project was no easy task.

The squadron started fundraising with a Krispy Kreme doughnut sale. Since the closest Krispy Kreme store is located in El Paso, Texas, three 4th SPCS members -- U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Margery Errington, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason Jaworski and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Armando Matute's -- had to drive a trailer down the night before the sale.

Half an hour into the drive, Matute's vehicle's rear passenger tire blew out. After receiving a ride from a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent back to Alamogordo to pick up another truck, we were finally back on our way to collect the 450 dozen doughnuts for the sale. The Pirates for Alamo raised $1,380 with the doughnut sale which helped to purchase backpacks, school supplies, food and Wal-Mart gift cards for the families.

This was not enough for the Pirates. We also sat in front of Wal-Mart, the Base Exchange, the Commissary, Lowe's and Kmart to ask for food, school supplies and monetary donations. The total amount the team raised in food, money and school supplies were $3,386.66.

On July 31, we met up in Errington's garage and separated all the donated products into categories -- the entire garage was filled -- which drew a response from the "Big Give" coordinator Amanda Gallagher, 49th Force Support Squadron Marketing director, of "Impressive."

It was refreshing for the entire 4th SPCS Pirates team to give back to the community. To see the smiles of the kids receiving their very own backpacks and witness the appreciation of the foster families receiving food baskets and gift cards, and be a help to the non-profit organization of CYFD made all of the long hours and "Big Give" effort worthwhile.