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Team McChord donates $10,000 to New Zealand charities

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Providing airlift support to the National Science Foundation is the primary mission of the 446th and 62nd Airlift Wings in Operation Deep Freeze. Providing support to the community of Christchurch, New Zealand is the mission at the heart of the men and women of Team McChord.

For ODF 2012, the Reserve and active-duty team from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., donated a record $10,000, evenly split among five charities.

"That's a big deal for us. We're very proud of the children's charity that we've always done in the past. This year we raised $10,000, which was a record, and we do that by selling C-17 theme T-shirts, coins, posters, hats and stickers. Our Airmen also donate to the charity. We gave $2,000 out to five different charities," said Lt. Col. Bill Eberhardt, 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander for ODF. Eberhardt is assigned to the 728th Airlift Squadron at McChord Field.

"This is our greatest mission where the two wings get to work together and it's working well," he said.

According to Chief Master Sgt. Jim Masura, 728th AS, the 304th EAS's charitable donations were raised by Team McChord members of the 446th and 62nd AWs, 627th Air Base Group, and 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, all from McChord Field.

Donations were given to the following organizations: St. John Ambulance, New Zealand Red Cross, Cookie Time Charitable Trust, Christchurch City Mission, and Kidney Kids of New Zealand.

In addition to the donation from the ODF team from McChord, the city of Seattle donated an ambulance.

"St. John Ambulance is a non-profit organization. Christchurch is a sister city of Seattle. Seattle donated an ambulance, and we donated $2,000 to equip the ambulance with important medical equipment," said Eberhardt.

The St. John Ambulance was a new charity for ODF Team McChord. Traditionally the team donates to children's charities.

"St. John is a non-profit organization that provides ambulance service for the entire city. They got maxed out by the earthquake (in February 2011).

Also new to the charity list for Team McChord was the Christchurch City Mission, which aids local families displaced by the earthquakes. There have been several, sometimes severe, aftershocks since the February 2011 earthquake.

There was another earthquake on Dec. 23, 2011 which did a lot more damage, according to Eberhardt.

As for the three other charities receiving $2,000 each you have:

New Zealand Red Cross, which is continuing to support earthquake relief efforts in Christchurch.

Kidney Kids of New Zealand, which supports local children with kidney disease.

Cookie Time Charitable Trust, which provides educational support for local dyslexic children.

"Special thanks goes to Chief Master Sergeant Jim Masura for heading up the campaign to raise the funds and give out the donations. Also, Lt. Col. Keenan has done a fantastic job of continuing the tradition of the 304th EAS charitable donations," said Eberhardt.

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