Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: May, 2011 (31) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 31

May 19, 2011 at 8:28pm

446th Reservists ensure vets are never forgotten

Master Sgt. Elizabeth Riser, first sergeant for the 446th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, MCChord Field, chats with Mr. Henry Boggs, a Vietnam War veteran who lives at the American Lake Veterans Hospital in Tacoma, Wash. Reservists f

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- From Flanders Fields where poppy's grow, to what is known as the "Silent War," to the bloody battles of Saigon, we remember them. They are our heroes. They are veterans of the military. They will never be forgotten.

Twenty Reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing spent time with veterans April 30 through the Visit a Veteran program at the American Lake Veterans Hospital in Tacoma, Wash.

"The 446th Airlift Wing has been a part of this program for three years," said Master Sgt. Elizabeth Riser, 446th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant. "I recently took it over because I am very passionate about it."

According to the American Red Cross, the purpose of the Visit a Vet program is to encourage individuals to visit the men and women who made the sacrifices that allow our lives to be as they are today.

"It's my duty to recognize their service," said Sergeant Riser. "It's very moving to see the joy on their faces when we come to visit them."

The veterans live at the hospital and are from the eras ranging from World War II to Vietnam. It brings a smile to each of their faces when they see servicemembers from all walks of life coming to spend time with them.

"All of us here really appreciate the attention we get," said Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Benjamin Newman, a Korean War veteran. "We didn't have this attention when we were serving. It was different times."
Sergeant Newman is a native of Baltimore, Md. He served 23 years in the Army with the 24th Infantry Company at Fort Meade, Md. He retired in 1969.

The Reservists volunteered their time during a training weekend to visit with the vets. They sacrificed more time away from their loved ones in addition to their busy training schedules. They did this selfless act of kindness not because they had to, but because they wanted to. According to each of them, they felt it was their duty. 

"I come here out of respect for the veterans," said Airman Devin Britton, a 21-year-old security forces apprentice with the 446th SFS. "I put myself in their shoes and if I was here I would want young members to do the same for me. Our attention is owed to them for what they've done."

"I think it's tremendous when young servicemembers come here," said Tech. Sgt. (retired) Henry Boggs, a Vietnam War veteran. "They are young and want to make a career of the military. I like to help and give advice." 

Sergeant  Boggs is a native of Selma, Ala. He served 21 years in the Air Force as a food service specialist. He retired in 1972 and he spends a lot of time painting.

Sergeant Riser said Reservists from the wing visit the VA hospital twice a year, but she would like to start going quarterly.

"It's important for them to know we haven't forgotten about them," said Sergeant Riser.

"I love it when servicemembers come to visit," said Tyrone Blacknell, a certified nurse's aide at the hospital. "It makes the vets feel like they are still a part of something."

American Lake VA Hospital was founded in 1923 to provide care for World War I veterans. Since then, they've expanded and now treat all people from the military.

"It's rewarding to talk to vets", said Chief Master Sgt. Dan Morris, superintendent of the 446th Maintenance Operations Flight. "A lot of them don't have family who visit them. I think it's good for them to know they are not forgotten."

May 21, 2011 at 3:28am

Get to know your Shirt - What a first sergeant does at McChord

62nd Airlift Wing first sergeants serve Airmen a hot meal during the Unaccompanied Airmen's Feast at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Abner Guzman)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- When asked about his position as the 62nd Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, Senior Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon replied, "There's no better job." 

In the United States Air Force, "first sergeant" is not a grade, but a special duty designation. He or she reports directly to the unit commander as the chief enlisted advisor on matters of enlisted morale, welfare and conduct.

"Our responsibility is to directly support Airmen and their families," said Sergeant Rendon. "We're involved with things like emergency leave, suicidal threats, financial issues, complaints, family relationship issues, fitness failures and much more."

Specifically, the first sergeant, or "shirt," helps provide the commander with a mission-ready enlisted force and prepares enlisted personnel for deployments. He or she advises the commander on a wide range of topics including Airmen health, discipline, well-being, career progression and professional development. First sergeants are accountable to respond to the needs of unit members 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Any life change is difficult to manage at first," said Master Sgt. William Baker, 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron first sergeant. "Once you get more comfortable with the role of a first sergeant, then it's a lot easier to manage. Being on-call every minute of every day eventually becomes normal."

As the vital link between the commander, enlisted personnel and support agencies, the first sergeant must ensure the enlisted force understands the commander's policies, goals and objectives.

"Our primary focus is the enlisted population," said Master Sgt. Wayne Gilbert, 8th Airlift Squadron first sergeant. "But that doesn't mean we aren't willing to help an officer. A squadron is a family. We care about everyone." 

The position is normally filled by noncommissioned officers with the permanent ranks of master sergeant, senior master sergeant or chief master sergeant. They can be identified by the diamond on the center of their rank insignia.

"Wearing the diamond signifies you've gone through the formal process and attended the First Sergeant Academy course at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama," said Sergeant Rendon.

First sergeants are selected through a combination of application and nomination. Once an NCO applies, the application goes through a wing command chief, to a wing commander, to a major command chief and on to the Military Personnel Center. 

"A first sergeant can be assigned to any squadron," said Sergeant Gilbert. "They actually try to assign you to Airmen in a different career field so that you focus on the people rather than get involved and try to contribute to the mission." 

Air Force Instruction 36-2113 says first sergeants commit to an initial three-year duty tour. While nearing the completion of their initial commitment, they may elect to serve an additional three year tour.

"The career field functional manager, command chief and commander have to approve an extended duty request," said Sergeant Rendon. "This position is very rewarding, and people tend to enjoy serving as a first sergeant."

According to Sergeant Baker, the job of a first sergeant is completely about improving the health, morale, discipline and welfare of Airmen and their families. 

"At the end of the day, it's about helping people," said Sergeant Baker. "Often times, I'll look across my desk and see an Airman in genuine need, whether it's spiritual, emotional or financial. We'll work through the problem and I know when they walk out of my office, they've been helped. That's why I wear the diamond."    

May 24, 2011 at 3:32am

Air Force doctor to appear on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'

Cardiologists Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Van Adamson (right) and Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kenneth Leclerc review a patient's records May 20 in the Brooke Army Medical Center Cardiology Clinic at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. Dr. Adamson received a scholarship to Morehouse

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Van Adamson never imagined he would appear on a national syndicated TV talk show, standing next to Hollywood's biggest celebrities as a result of a college scholarship he received 13 years ago. 

In her second-to-last episode on Tuesday, May 24, popular day-time talk show host Oprah Winfrey will highlight her charity efforts over the years. Dr. Adamson, along with about 300 Morehouse College scholarship recipients, will walk on stage at Chicago's United Center as Kristen Chenoweth sings "For Good" from the musical "Wicked." 

The show, which has been running for 25 years, ends May 25. It has remained the number one talk show for 24 years.

Dr. Adamson, a cardiology fellow assigned to the 59th Medical Wing here was also one of five individuals selected by the producer to appear in a short interview segment to speak about how the scholarship has impacted his life.

"It was amazing to me that Oprah cared enough about me as an individual, someone she didn't know, to help me get through school and accomplish my dreams, and it was absolutely amazing that I had the chance to meet her in person and tell her thank you," said Dr. Adamson, who currently rotates duties between Wilford Hall and Brooke Army medical centers.

In 1998, Oprah made a dream come true for the aspiring young man raised in Spartanburg, S.C. As a recipient of an Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship, Dr. Adamson was able to complete his undergraduate degree at Morehouse College, a private, historically Black, all-male college in Atlanta, Ga.

Morehouse College is known for its outstanding graduates in the fields of education, politics, business, religion, science, medicine, dentistry, law and much more.

"Oprah's scholarship gave me an opportunity to continue my education and attain my goals and head to medical school," he said. "Honestly, if I had not received that scholarship, I would not have been able to go back to school my sophomore year."

Dr. Adamson said he was totally caught by surprise when the show's producer contacted his father. 

"First, I didn't believe my dad, and then I called and they wanted to interview me to discuss my accomplishments since graduation," he said.

Dr. Adamson completed his internal medicine residency at Langley Air Force Base, Va., prior to entering the fellowship program at Wilford Hall. He served for six months at the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq, where he medically stabilized battle wounded soldiers.

"(Appearing on the show) was very exciting," he said. "Rehearsal for the taping started at 4:30 a.m. and took six hours. Everything had to be done with precision. I also had the opportunity to meet Tyler Perry, black author and playwright. It definitely will be a star-studded show."

Some of the big names that will appear on the show include actresses Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes and Dakota Fanning. Other celebrities to make an appearance are Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Maya Angelou, Michael Jordan, newswoman Diane Sawyer and many, many more.

The show airs May 24 on ABC network. For local listings of TV channels and times in your area, go to    

May 25, 2011 at 6:37am

Fighter Pilot Balances Work, Motherhood

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C., May 18, 2011 - When Air Force Maj. Jaime Nordin saw her first airshow as a child, she knew she wanted to fly fighter jets.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Maj. Jaime Nordin drops off her daughter Caleigh at the child development center at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., April 28, 2011. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Phelps 
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"I was mesmerized by fighters -- the idea of going fast and flying upside-down," said the F-16 pilot with the 79th Fighter Squadron here, one of 58 women among the Air Force's 2,689 fighter pilots.

The role of Air Force fighter pilots is to maintain superiority in the air and support the ground fight. But Nordin's mission goes beyond that. She also is the mother of a 2-year-old daughter named Caleigh.

"Being a mom and a fighter pilot are both equally demanding, which makes having only 24 hours in a day hard," she said. "But more and more, I'm becoming a mom, and a fighter pilot is my trade."

Nordin said she was five to six weeks pregnant when she found out Caleigh was on the way. "Because of that," she said, "I joke with my daughter that she has flown in an F-16." But impending motherhood meant that Nordin had to take some time off from flying.

"Between pulling high G's and the ejection seat, flying while pregnant is a ‘no go,'" she said.

Being grounded was difficult at first, the major acknowledged. "I went through an identity crisis because I had to stop flying," she said. "I had to become something other than a fighter pilot. But after a while, my motherly instincts took over."

During that time, Nordin worked in the operations support squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. After the time off from the pregnancy and recovery, her qualifications for flying were out of date, so she had to take a class at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

"During the time off, I really missed flying," Nordin said. "It's kind of a need. I missed being in the air and the camaraderie of the squadron."

Nordin's husband also is an F-16 pilot, which presents unique challenges to the couple in raising a 2-year-old. For example, she said, she sometimes worries about what will happen while she's flying or in the middle of something else and can't pick up Caleigh.

"Fortunately, we have friends who are willing to step in and help us out at the drop of a hat," she said. "Several times we've had to cash in on them for help because of mission requirements."

For times when the two pilot parents have temporary deployments at the same time and can't bring Caleigh, they have a family care plan in place to ensure their daughter's care.

"We've been making adjustments in our lives to make things work since Day One," Nordin said. "The busy lifestyle is the only life we know. We've always had to adjust and readjust. [Caleigh has] always known this life."

But so far, she added, the couple has not yet had to miss out on any key moments in their daughter's life.

"I know there are a ton of families where that is not the case, so we've been blessed in that way," she said. "You have to learn to celebrate the ordinary."

The mom and fighter pilot said she can tell that her daughter understands what it means for her parents to be pilots.

"She can tell you what an F-16 is," she said. "She is thrilled by them. She'll see one fly and say that's mom or dad. She enjoys sitting and watching the planes taxi down the runway. She's engulfed in it."

May 25, 2011 at 9:56am

446 passes inspection

The Reservists of the 446th Airlift Wing are in the fight every day.  They deploy to the Middle East and train at McChord Field.  Despite their rigorous schedule, Reservists in the wing were still able to prepare and pass a major inspection focused on processes and documentation.

 The 446th Airlift Wing's Compliance Inspection was May 20-23 at McChord Field.  A team of 43 inspectors, representing all functions from Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, came to ensure the 446th AW is mission ready, which people of the unit proved beyond a shadow of a doubt.

 "The competition lies within our own performance, and the 446th AW did better than itself three years ago," said Col. Lane Seaholm, vice commander of the 446th AW. "Add this to the constant high operations tempo our teams deal with, and we can see that we are blessed with the best Airmen this country has to offer."

 In addition to a passing grade, individuals and teams were singled out for notable contributions. An aircraft maintainer from the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron received an outstanding performer award. Eight Reservists were named superior performers, the military pay section was recognized as a superior team, and six members were awarded a military bearing award.

 The purpose of a Compliance Inspection is to standardize the way the Air Force conducts operations across the board including active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. The inspection was based on Air Force Instructions, local, state, federal, and Department of Defense requirements.

May 28, 2011 at 8:02am

McChord Reserve civil engineers get cool training in hot sun

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ben Jenkins from the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron helps re-spool a broken pull cord on an asphalt grinding machine during a field exercise at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. on March 23, 2011. Airman Jenkins is one of 30 Reservi

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- With temperatures hovering in the 90s and high humidity, the heat is on for some 30 Reservists from the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron from McChord Field, Wash., who arrived May 21 for a week-long training exercise here.

Known as Silver Flag, the exercise provides field training and classroom instruction to improve deployment readiness for civil engineers.

Teaming up with their active-duty and Air National Guard counterparts from across the nation, the Reservists get to learn and share skills and knowledge.

"This is a chance for our Airmen to get hands-on training with our assets currently deployed in the area of responsibility," said Maj. Jere High, 446th CES operations flight commander. "This is important stuff because people's lives depend on it."

Major High is the deployed student commander for Silver Flag, and he said it's exciting to see participants from various locations and backgrounds come together and gel as a team.

The 446th CES has Reservists from nearly every civil engineer career field attending the exercise, including specialists in utilities, structures, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), electrical, power production, operations, and heavy equipment.

"We're here to learn how to run it, fix it, and maintain it," said Major High. "No matter where you are in your career, you never know it all... there's always something new to learn."

One of the Reservists tackling the Florida spring heat while sharpening his career skills is Senior Airman Ben Jenkins, a heavy construction equipment operator with 446th CES. Even though this is his first go-around at Silver Flag, Airman Jenkins is certified on every piece of equipment in his shop's arsenal, from giant backhoes and graters to asphalt grinders with blades that look like they belong on a huge pizza cutter.

Despite the experience he already has under his belt, like a seven-month deployment to Iraq in 2009, he's taking in all the knowledge he can at Silver Flag.

"I'm hoping to get out of this a better understanding of airfield damage repair," said the former Tillamook High School basketball star from Oregon.

He and his fellow "dirt boyz," as the heavy equipment specialists are known, are refining their skills to quickly and efficiently fix runways damaged by enemy mortar rounds. And while it may sound like a dirty job, it's one that's absolutely essential to keeping Air Force firepower in the air.

"This is a big part of our job, and this kind of training environment really helps increase my knowledge base for a deployed environment," said Airman Jenkens, a Portland Community College student.

Like in most field-training exercises in other career fields, communication is another essential tool, according to Airmen Jenkins' supervisor, Staff Sgt. Garett Wass, 446th CES construction equipment operator.

"The communication side of things is so important to mission accomplishment, and this scenario provides an atmosphere conducive to communication," he said.

Sergeant Wass has deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and says Silver Flag provides invaluable knowledge and learning. He believes that makes for more confident, skilled Airmen when the deployment cycle rolls around.

And when it does, Sergeant Wass knows Silver Flag will have prepared Reservists from the 446th CES to take on the task.

May 28, 2011 at 7:24pm

Mobility Airman profile: Joint Base Lewis-McChord aeromedical NCO supports Global Medic 2011

Staff Sgt. Martin Duran, an aeromedical technician from the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., checks the status of a simulated casualty during an aeromedical evacuation mission aboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft

He "deployed" to Fort Hunter-Liggett, Calif., to help "save lives" - in practice of course.

Staff Sgt. Martin Duran, an aeromedical evacuation technician with the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., was one of many Airmen supporting Global Medic 2011 and Warrior 91 11-01 at Fort Hunter-Liggett in May 2011.

According to an Air Force news report, Global Medic "is a joint field training exercise for theater aeromedical evacuation system and ground medical components designed to replicate all aspects of combat medical service support."

Deployed aeromedical evacuation, or AE teams work to evacuate patients from combat theaters to hospitals close to their home of record where further care will be provided, if necessary, Air Mobility Command officials said. These often lengthy airlift transports are when the AE teams must be the most vigilant.

AMC aircraft transport patients with an AE crew on board, typically consisting of two flight nurses and three medical technicians like Duran. The AE crew is responsible for caring for and monitoring each warfighter by helping alleviate pain, administering medications and providing nursing care during the transport. A Critical Care Air Transport Team, or CCATT, is added to the crew for all critical-care patients. The CCATT consists of an intensive care physician, critical care nurse and respiratory therapist.

Duran is trained in more than AE as part of her career field, his official Air Force job description shows for the aerospace medical service career field. However, for his duties in performing AE duties, he is trained to prepare patients and equipment for flight and to prepare aircraft for patient enplaning.

AE technicians like Duran also enplane and deplane ambulatory and litter patients, inventories loads and unloads baggage, functions as an AE crewmember, and assists flight nurses with in-flight patient care and documentation. AE technicians also monitor safety and security of patients, crew and the aircraft during in-flight or ground operations, and they operate specialized aircraft life support equipment, medical devices and aircraft systems related to patient care.

Furthermore, AE technicians provide emergency care for patients in event of medical or aircraft emergency and perform, when tasked, as a member of a mobile aeromedical staging facility during field training and deployment for contingency operations, the job description states.

As part of requirements for his Air Force specialty, Duran has to maintain mandatory job knowledge in many areas to include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, nursing theory, techniques and procedures and team nursing.

He also has to know patient needs, emergency medical treatment to include cardiopulmonary resuscitation, aseptic technique, medical ethics and legal aspects. AE technicians also have to know about prescribed drugs and their administration, operating and maintaining therapeutic equipment, military hygiene and sanitation, risk management, contingency operations and transportation of sick and wounded.

AMC officials said AE missions already in execution in theater can be re-tasked when necessary. "The process normally takes 20 minutes to identify the appropriate mission and averages six and a half hours from initial notification to wheels up for urgent cases and priority cases averaging nine hours," officials said.

(Staff Sgt. Donald R. Allen contributed to this report.)

May 31, 2011 at 5:42am

Iraqi airmen, McChord advisor, others celebrate bittersweet PME graduation

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Lake Tech. Sgt. Lewis Isassi, 321st Expeditionary Mission Support Advisory Group civil engineer advisor, and the Iraqi air force's top enlisted airman hand out rank insignias to graduates of a two-week long enlisted professional

NEW AL-MUTHANA AIR BASE, Iraq - More than 160 Iraqi airmen graduated from a two-week long enlisted professional development course taught by U.S. Air Force advisors, here May 28. 

The students, who learned skills designed to make them more effective leaders, supervisors and managers, were praised by their American advisors as well as the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air director, Brig. Gen. Anthony Rock, and the New Al-Muthana Air Base commander for their achievement in the face of tragic circumstances. 

"This graduation is a tremendous milestone for the Iraqi air force and it celebrates the partnership between Iraq and the United States," said Rock, who spoke on behalf of ITAM-Air advisors. "It also celebrates the importance of education. We should always aim to learn as much as we possibly can because education is like a jewel - it's priceless." 

In the last month, more than a dozen ITAM-Air and 321st Air Expeditionary Wing airmen have worked alongside their Iraqi enlisted counterparts at NAMAB sharing experiences and practical applications of professional military education. 

"We talked to them about leadership and discipline, taking pride in their uniform and the importance of being an ambassador in the community," explained Master Sgt. Rickie Frost, 321st Expeditionary Mission Support Advisory Group logistics advisor deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. 

"We told them as military members, we are always held to a higher standard, on- and off-duty," said the Morgan, Ga., native.

The training course suffered a tragic setback during its first week when the base's vice commander, who had pushed for the training and other quality of life improvements for his airmen, was assassinated in the suburbs of Baghdad April 28.

"Gen. Mohamed was instrumental in helping us set up this course for his enlisted airmen," explained Master Sgt. Brian Carter, ITAM-Air's medical advisor at NAMAB who helped set up the course. "He would have wanted us to see the course through to the end. We couldn't let it fail after that terrible day."

After two weeks respite, the course resumed. The American advisors talked to their enlisted partners about the Iraqi air force's core values - learning English, integrity, military discipline, and on a more personal level, loyalty to country. 

"We discussed all those things, but the most important thing that we did was learn about each other," said Carter, who is deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. "We, as service members, understand the great risk Iraqis take by serving in their country's military. They take far greater risks coming to work in uniform than we do back home in the United States. Many of these guys have to serve anonymously due to the risks to their life and family. They can't even tell their friends and neighbors what they do."

Looking ahead, ITAM-Air advisors are eager to set up another course that focuses more exclusively on English, which is the international aviation language. 

"The next course will focus on English language, which is crucial for their training and development in the aviation field," said Carter, a Wilson, N.C., native. "We want [the Iraqis] to take the lead on planning and preparing the next course. We'd like to see them take this on as their own."

The PME course is the second of its kind for ITAM-Air advisors here in Baghdad. ITAM-Air is comprised of more than 1,000 U.S. Air Force airmen deployed to seven major locations throughout Iraq. The organization advises, trains and assists Iraqi air force and army aviation command service members as U.S. forces transition out of the country.

May 31, 2011 at 6:07am

McChord Airman's stroke leads to Our Forgotten Warriors

LOS ANGELES, PRNewswire/ -- There are no state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs. There are no white canes with red tips. There is no outward physical disfiguration. But forBrandon Gauvreau and thousands of military veterans like him, their health and well-being issues are just as serious.

In 2007, Gauvreau, a 19 year old airman stationed at McChord Air Force Base in Lakewood, Washington, suffered a Hemorrhagic stroke that left him partially paralyzed. He also suffered some left side hearing and vision loss and he is cognitively impaired. While Brandon's illness didn't happen on the front lines of Iraq or Afghanistan, he was in the armed forces doing the job of protecting his country.

Gauvreau soon realized that there was a woeful lack of facilities available to provide very important services to wounded veterans. Services like assistance filling out forms, arranging for benefits and help with finding housing are absolutely essential for the veteran who is suffering from some debilitating injury or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

But Gauvreau was not one to sit back and accept the status quo. "Thinking about what was going on with me made me want to go out and help others," he said. Gauvreau had an idea; he would start an organization that would do just that. He shared his idea with his mother Carol Blake, who took it and ran with it. Together they created Our Forgotten Warriors (OFW), a non-profit organization that was established to help veterans find their way through a maze of bureaucratic red tape and financial hardship.

Already OFW has helped a large number of veterans. "We get more than 20 calls a month, and we just don't have the resources to help everyone who needs it. There have been times I have had to come out of my own pocket to help someone," said Blake. Hopefully that won't have to happen too much longer, some people are taking notice. Blake was recently notified that OFW is the 2011 Community Impact Grant recipient, a $5000 grant that was awarded by the Home Depot Foundation. According to Blake the funds will be used on a home repair project for a veteran living in Michigan who served two tours in Iraq and received a purple heart and has already filed bankruptcy.

And, after hearing Gauvreau's story, a company in Olympia, Washington, Country Green Turf Farms, felt compelled to do something.  So they agreed to landscape his entire back yard at no cost to the injured airman, a job that could typically cost as much as $9000.

Blake contacted Klaus Price an old friend and president and CEO of Elite B Inc., a personal management company in Southern California. The three of them came up with the idea to produce 'The Road to Recovery Tour' a free concert for the service men and women at Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) in Washington. Armed with a great idea, Blake soon elicited the enthusiastic support of the then garrison commander Colonel Thomas H. Brittain. Price, seeing this as a wonderful opportunity to help a good cause, agreed to provide financial support for the event and immediately went on to recruit a talented lineup which includes: VH1's Somaya Reece, Jessica Sierra of American Idol fame and Traci Bingham. In all, he has arranged for a total of 10 featured performers. 

"I always wanted to join the Air Force, but it just didn't work out," Price said. "I think this is a great way for us to show our men and women in the military that we care about them."

May 31, 2011 at 11:24pm

Airman proposes to girlfriend at Royals game

Sure you've seen the ballpark marriage proposals on the big screen, but the Kansas City Royals went all out for this Airman who popped the question to his girlfriend. 

Needless to say, he got a standing ovation. 

Yahoo! Sports has the video here

Filed under: News To Us,

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