Dover First Sergeants talk turkey

  • Published
  • By Roland Balik
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Dover’s First Sergeant Council, additional duty first sergeants, wing leadership, donators and volunteers flocked together inside the “Mugs” lounge at The Landings, November 18, 2016, to make Thanksgiving holiday food baskets with all the trimmings for Team Dover members in hopes of making this holiday more enjoyable.

In less than three hours, 211 food baskets were prepared by the first sergeants and ready for distribution to pre-selected military families from 17 different squadrons on base.

Monetary, thermal bag and food item donations came from the FSC’s Good Shepherd Fund, Dover Federal Credit Union, Dover Military Support Group, Dover Military Academy, Keller Williams Realty, the Food Lion in Smyrna, Delaware, Dover AFB Commissary and numerous individuals, made this event a huge success.

“While many Airmen spend the holiday season away from their own families, the Thanksgiving holiday basket was one way to ensure everyone has a happy holiday season,” said Master Sgt. Paula Neely, 436th Force Support Squadron first sergeant. “One of the great things about being a part of the military family, Team Dover specifically, is that we take care of one another.”

Key contributor, DFCU, presented a $3,000 check to the Dover FSC and donated reusable thermal grocery bags for the food baskets.

“As many people already know, supporting Team Dover is not a question for us,” said Tyler Kuhn, DFCU community relations officer. “It is not only a huge part of what we do, but a huge part of who we are. Dover Federal Credit Union was first chartered in 1958 by a handful of Air Force and civilian workers at Dover AFB. With that being said, we are very enthusiastic and dedicated to the mission of Team Dover, and anxious to support in any way we can.”

The Dover FSC’s Good Shepherd Fund falls under Operation Warm Heart, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing emergency financial relief, morale building, and quality of life enhancements to military members and their families stationed at Dover AFB. This program is organized by the Dover FSC with an operating budget solely based on fund raising activities by the FSC and contributions made by the local community.

“The local community and businesses came together to ensure this event was a success because they not only appreciate what Team Dover is accomplishing, but they care about what our Airmen are doing over the holidays,” said Master Sgt. Juan DeJesus, 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant. “This was a great experience and a humbling one to be a part of this year.”

The food baskets were given to Team Dover members regardless of rank.

“With an unexpected financial burden, the restructuring of my budget and shortness on time, receiving a holiday basket lessened stressors on many levels for having a nice Thanksgiving Day dinner,” said one recipient. “It was perfect timing during a difficult time in my career and was very much appreciated by me and my family.”

As stated in the First Sergeant’s Creed, people is their job and everyone is their business, taking care of people is a first sergeant’s duty 24/7, 365 days a year.

Master Sgt. Jamie Beard, 436th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant said, "I became a first sergeant to give back to the Airmen. This is one avenue to ensure we accomplish just that. I love this job!"

In addition to providing assistance to military families, the Dover FSC provides Commissary gift cards and grants to aid families in need when assistance by other means cannot be obtained. This is to prevent the families from an unintended burden through loan repayment during emergency situations.

“Our Airman really appreciated the generous gift this holiday season, and we look forward to doing it again next year,” said DeJesus.