Joint Base Charleston

 

Comprehensive Airman Fitness - AADD Caring for Charleston

By Airman Jared Trimarchi | Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | January 13, 2011

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The moon glows high in the sky, the alarm reads 1 a.m., and the covers on the bed have never felt so warm, when all of a sudden the phone begins to ring and silence is broken. The voice on the line is slurred and that can only mean one thing. A wingman is in need, and his situation is more important than staying in bed. Someone must drive to town and bring him home safe and sound. But who?

This is a typical night for the on-call person for Airmen Against Drunk Driving, a volunteer organization on Joint Base Charleston.

"The people who volunteer for AADD care about something bigger than themselves," said Staff Sgt. Amanda Lotspeich, Airman Leadership School instructor and AADD president.

Caring is one of the five actions of Comprehensive Airman Fitness and on JB CHS, the culture of caring is not just for Airman, but for all.

AADD is here for all military members, their families, and DOD civilians, to help whenever a backup plan goes wrong, and to keep people under the influence away from the steering wheel, said Sergeant Lotspeich.

"Our mission is to make sure people get home safely," said Sergeant Lotspeich. "AADD should not be your primary plan to make it home anytime you go out drinking with friends. You should be responsible and have a designated driver. AADD is here when all else fails."

The policy of AADD is no questions asked, Sergeant Lotspeich said, but her vision is to expand the program to become an educational outreach program. The volunteers from AADD go out quarterly to Windwood Farm, a foster home for boys ages 5 - 16, to help paint, clean, do yard work, and motivate the children to make good decisions.

"It's not just a program for Airmen, but for anyone who wants to be a part and help," Sergeant Lotspeich said.

Volunteers drive their own cars and use their own gas, in spite of the price per gallon.

"Driving around someone you've never met in the middle of the night in your own car, shows that you care," said Master Sgt. Scott Levesque, section chief of cyber transport 628th Communications Squadron and a AADD volunteer. "This community gives back to us and cares about us. There have been countless times I have gone out for lunch and people I don't know will snatch my check and will not allow me to pay. The least we can do is to give back as well. It's more than a bullet on your Enlisted Performance Report."

Though the number of volunteers is small, squadrons have volunteered more than 460 hours in 2010, not including the number of individual hours. The impact made has not only saved the lives of the Airmen, but also the lives of other drivers, said Sergeant Lotspeich. Close to 40 calls are made to AADD every month in 2010, a total of 469 that year alone.

"Most of our volunteers are Airmen who live in the dorms, but we have been seeing more senior noncommissioned officers and even commanders come out to help," Sergeant Lotspeich said. "When Airmen see their leadership stepping up and volunteering, it shows the importance of being involved in the community and caring about others."

Before you get behind the wheel, call 963-AADD
To volunteer call 963-3535

(This is the fifth story on a nine-part series on Comprehensive Airman Fitness)


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