Fundraising campaign embodies spirit of Air Force Wingman

Fundraising campaign embodies spirit of Air Force Wingman

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — When Linda Larsen’s son was deployed to Iraq several years ago, she would ship packages to him on a regular basis. 

Her son responded in a letter expressing his embarrassment with all of the shipments because he had four men who weren’t getting any support from home as they dealt with effects of depression. 

Larsen, of Ogden, began telling her co-workers about the situation, and within the day, co-workers said they would adopt a service member in her son’s Ghost Rider task force, and in that moment, Operation Adopt a Ghost was born. 

The charitable group supports military members and operates solely through the efforts of volunteers. All of the items sent are donated, so the expenses lie in shipping costs. Larsen sends several shipments per month, supporting around 2,000 military members at a time. Many of the areas are so remote that items are delivered via parachute drop. 

The deployed members receive all sorts of interesting things, Larsen says, from tennis shoes, to squirt guns, to rat traps. “It’s been really interesting all the different basic things they need that people take for granted,” Larsen said. 

It is because of the CFC campaign that keeps us going. Sometimes I don’t know how I am going to ship something, and then money will appear through the CFC campaign and I can ship things. It’s been a real faith builder.”

CFC stands for Combined Federal Campaign, an annual program that collects money for various charities.

Master Sgt. Ronald Wren also knows what it’s like to receive CFC funding that is directed to Team Hill’s Operation Warm Heart Organization. Years ago, Wren lost his mom to cancer and he and his wife had to unexpectedly pay for funeral expenses, leaving them with limited funds. 

“Operation Warm Heart granted my family $300 to assist us with travel expenses, so when I became a first sergeant, I had a personal desire to fully support the program, due to the benevolence I experienced in the past,” Wren said. 

The Team Hill Operation Warm Heart Organization gives Team Hill first sergeants an opportunity to give back to the base community. 

“First sergeants are oftentimes viewed as the bad guy. However, this is usually far from the truth,” Wren said. “Providing assistance to a family or member in need truly embodies the Air Force Wingman concept.”

One hundred percent of the organizations’ donations go back into the community, helping provide monetary and material support for the morale and welfare of Hill AFB’s military personnel and Department of Defense civilians who find themselves in a difficult financial situation. 

MarLyn Shrum, a program manager in the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, recalls when a family member was told by her doctor she had Alzheimer’s, she was sent home with very little information. Shortly thereafter, they got a phone call from the Alzheimer’s Association to give them more information about the illness. 

As a result, Shrum now donates to Alzheimer’s Association, among other charitable organizations, to help others in similar situations. “I just know there are so many problems and so many people that have a great need for resources to assist them,” Shrum said. 

Visit www.intermountaincfc.org to browse the full list of charities. Hill units have representatives available to assist with donating. The CFC runs through Nov. 16.

CFC Donation Event

Donate old books and DVDs during a Combined Federal Campaign committee fundraising event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at Base Exchange main entrance. 

In turn, people can make a monetary donation to pick up a “new” book or DVD that someone else has donated. 

Proceeds supplement Hill AFB CFC Committee administrative costs. For more information, call Jill Wayman at 801-586-0392 or Linda Larsen at 801-586-5703.

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