TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – "I will never leave an Airman behind," is a part of the Airman's Creed and the spirit behind this creed was demonstrated by Team Tyndall May 28 as they rallied to support Wingmen living in Oklahoma.
Service Before Self, was another motivator that drove Team Tyndall to take action to help fellow Wingmen affected by the catastrophic tornados that ravaged the Oklahoma City, Okla. area May 19 and 20.
More than 350 families from Tinker AFB, Okla. lost their homes or were displaced and an estimated 300 Airmen were without power and water, Chief Master Sgt. Raymond DeVite Jr., 325th Fighter Wing command chief, explained.
In response to the devastation, the Tyndall Chief's Group came together to organize a relief fund campaign, which consisted of Team Tyndall, Airmen, family members and other volunteers collecting money at the major traffic points on base. The operation was spearheaded by Master Sgt. Alicia Barr, 325th Force Support Squadron Readiness and Plans section chief.
"Team Tyndall raised $11,154.33 for our fellow Wingmen in 12 hours," said Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Ouzts, 325th Maintenance Squadron munitions flight chief and Tyndall Chiefs Group Secretary.
Staff Sgt. Michael Bambarger, 772nd Enterprise Sourcing Squadron, and Master Sgt. Bryan Smith, 325th Security Forces Squadron, were also a great help with this project, Sergeant Barr said. Nothing this large of scale could be done alone.
"It goes beyond words on how wonderful it is that within 12 hours, even with a mini-recession, furloughs and other budget restraints, we were able to pull together and help out our Air Force family," Sergeant Barr added.
The money raised will be sent directly to Chief Master Sgt. Brian Lavoie, 72nd Air Base Wing command chief, Tinker AFB, to dispense to Team Tinker members affected by the storm.
"This was our way of loving deeply and sharing our graces with families in need," Sergeant Barr said, which is a lesson learned from her own 3-year-old daughter.
"In addition to financial support, we will continue to pray for the healing and restoration of their community," said Chaplain (Capt.) Gabriel Rios, 325th FW Chaplain Corps. "As a member of the Tyndall chapel community, I can't begin to know the grief they are going through with their loss, but I know they are hurting deeply."
He continued with the words by Adam Hunter for Guidepost, "Leaning on God for hope, comfort and strength after a tragedy doesn't ignore the realities of what has happened. It doesn't lessen the tragedy. But it does help us recover and rebuild."
Tyndall has a deep history with Tinker, through the 337th Air Control Squadron.
The 337th Air Control Squadron annually produces approximately 160 air battle managers.
"Nearly four of five graduating air battle manager students will depart the school house for their first operational assignment at Tinker," said Lt. Col. Gary Smith, 337th ACS commander. "Tinker is in the heartland of America."
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By Senior Airman Christopher Reel