Airmen for an Afternoon to assist homeowners recovering from tornado
By Col. Scott West, 27th Fighter Wing commander
/ Published March 29, 2007
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Last weekend, our New Mexico friends and neighbors (including some of our Airmen) suffered significant physical and property damage as a result of Friday's tornado. I was very proud of the way we responded, with kindness and muscle to help our community recover.
Saturday, Airmen volunteered to help with the process of discovery in Curry County and Clovis. Sunday, several hundred Airmen volunteered to help with debris removal in various tornado-damaged pockets of destruction. Monday, we shut down flying operations so we could voluntarily help again -- by the hundreds, house by house, hand by hand or with heavy equipment. And throughout the week, the Cannon volunteer spirit continued.
It's made a difference. Not only physically, but as a way of repaying the support our community gives to us, year in, year out. Appreciation for our tornado restoration help is echoed in a note below from one of our Medical Group members:
"I saw [a patient] this morning. Her home and neighborhood suffered very much damage; fortunately she and her family were not hurt at all. She asked me to convey her gratitude to those who volunteered to help. While crying, she described to me how she and her community felt when they saw the buses filled with military help and how words will never be able to convey their thanks."
Our New Mexico community's restoration is not yet fully complete. Some families may need an afternoon of muscle to finish a job, so we've offered "Airmen for an Afternoon," (505) 784-4228, a number tornado victims can call to get help from Airmen volunteers.
Airmen for an Afternoon is geared toward an individual property, home or business owner who needs four or so Airmen to help finish tornado-related work. We'll keep the line open as long as our community needs a hand. I know the volunteer spirit is strong at Cannon and hope you'll have an afternoon to give.