CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Airmen from Cannon donated children’s toys to several nearby community centers in the local area Dec. 17, 2018.
After pooling together the donated gifts, 27th Special Operations Force Support Squadron members gift-wrapped the toys and transported them to places like children’s homes and schools in Clovis and Portales, New Mexico.
“The goal is to give back to our local communities and continue building those bonds,” said Sara Williams, 27th SOFSS school liaison officer. “Master Sgt. Reyes and myself were talking about what we could do for our local community and make a significant impact for the holiday season. I reached out to our school family service programs and asked for guidance on what we could do for the local under-privileged children.”
Master Sgt. Ariel Reyes is the 27th SOFSS first sergeant, and has been working with Williams to make this event happen from beginning to end. In total, toys were delivered to the Lincoln Jackson School in Clovis and a handful of different schools in Portales.
“They really came to the rescue,” said Mary Urioste, Clovis schools family service worker. “We were only able to reach out to so many families. When Sara came to us and offered help, it was a blessing because we were able to have so much more outreach.”
“It’s the first time we’ve done something like this,” Urioste said. “It’s amazing. It’s all about working together to form a community.”
The drive started with the 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group, but quickly spread across base as more units voiced interest in helping out with the cause. Eventually, the entire base got involved with the drive.
The amount of help she got reminded her of how close she feels to others in the community, Williams said.
“Being a part of this local community is amazing,” Williams said. “We have been here in Clovis for six-and-a-half years now, and to know so many people and see everyone wherever you go is so refreshing. I love to go into a store and people just say hello and talk because they’re so friendly. Growing up in a town smaller than Clovis, in Connecticut, makes this place home for me.”
Alongside Williams, Reyes formed a team of two people who took on the task to wrap these presents.
“Sara sought out the local school family service program to get names of under-privileged children,” Reyes said. “When we received the 650-700 names to sponsor, we knew that it would be a challenge, but also a feat that we could accomplish.”
Reyes has been stationed at Cannon for almost two years, and loves the local community, he mentioned.
“It brings me great joy to do what I can to make our community great and giving back to the children this holiday season,” Reyes said.
For the season of giving, Williams and Reyes are happy to feel involved and motivated to inspire children across the local area, according to Williams.
“My heart is so full knowing that our community has truly shown the joy of the holiday season,” Williams explained. “We are giving back to the community that gives so much to us!”