Airmen help local families, strengthen community

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Andrew Kobialka
  • 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Record unemployment, wide-spread illness and government enforced self-isolation are looking to be the hallmarks of the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you look a little closer, you’ll find that people are changing that narrative one selfless act at a time.

A sponge dunked into a bucket of soapy water forces out a splash and splats on the concrete. The sudsy water drains down the street and is joined by drips of water falling off a Jeep Wrangler, only a few feet from the curb. Looking up there’s three individuals diligently spraying, scrubbing and detailing every inch of the vehicle. It’s a classic car wash.

Leading the effort is Tech. Sgt. Joshua Armstrong, a radar approach control supervisor from the 366th Operation Support Squadron, along with Airman 1st Class Christopher Ivers and Airman 1st Class Yuri Rowe, both air traffic controllers from the 366th OSS.

They are volunteering their time to help families do the little things that can slip through the cracks with the stressors of COVID-19.

All while wearing CDC (Center of Disease Control) recommended face masks, Armstrong has organized a group of Airmen from the 366th OSS who are doing acts of service like a neighborhood car wash, painting or mowing lawns. Anything they can do to make life a little easier.

“We want to be a reminder that we are a big Air Force family,” Armstrong said. “With Airmen deployed and unable to come home, I thought to myself “What would I want someone to do for my family?” and that motivated me to dig deeper to see what we can do for others.”

As cars approached, the group welcomed them with a “Hey! Come get a car wash!”. Everyone was talking and laughing as they worked.

“We were almost finished with our first car when more volunteers showed up ready to help with the next,” Rowe said. “It’s a good cause and a lot of fun.”

No one forced these Airmen to come out and help. They chose to and that is representative of the culture that the Air Force works hard to cultivate.

“These operations are about everyone else; they are about helping others and giving them a reason to come together and socialize while still keeping a safe distance,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong put together a group chat named “Peg-Assist” after his squadron mascot. This is a place where people can offer up their unique skill sets to help others or ask for help themselves.

“If people have great ideas, we are more than happy to help out any way we can,” Armstrong said.