NEWS | Feb. 2, 2012

437th OG volunteerism feeds the Lowcountry

By Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Giving back to the community is the trademark of any well-rounded military unit.

The 437th Operations Group, 437th Airlift Wing, along with the hard work from their spouses, completed a food drive last month to provide 1,072 pounds of food to the Lowcountry Food Bank located in Charleston, S.C.

The drive was launched during the holiday season and according to estimates, placed 825 meals on the tables of the local community.

What started as a good idea soon became a grassroots effort that swept the group thanks to the support of Col. Trevor Nitz, 437th OG group commander and his wife.

"We started at the squadron level" said Jacquelyn O'Connor Ayers, 16th Airlift Squadron, 437th AW key spouse. "Everyone I spoke to wanted to elevate it so it became an entire group effort."

"We placed donation boxes in all squadrons and items were collected over the course of the month and picked up by the Lowcountry Food Bank," said O'Connor Ayers.

The group holiday party was also turned into a collection point which provided one last push for the volunteer effort.

A variety of foods, canned items and dry goods made up the total gift to the community. Despite a blistering operations tempo and ongoing efforts for deployment preparations, the drive was a success.

"We were certainly blown away by how much we could collect, considering the time of year, the ORI and deployments" said O'Connor Ayers.

The winning unit of the food drive was the 15th Airlift Squadron, 437th AW; an accomplishment made even more notable since the unit was deployed during the drive.

Volunteerism was not limited to the food drive; spouses and family members also lent their support and donations to sponsor the unit children's holiday party.

Donating time and effort to a volunteer cause can be seen as a burden during busy times, but the Airmen and loved ones of the 437 OG have shown that it can be done and during these difficult times, absolutely necessary.