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NEWS | March 5, 2008

Skydiving volunteer gives 42 years to Charleston AFB

By Trisha Schmalz 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Military Wife of the Year, Woman of Distinction and skydiver; these are just a few of the many titles one member of Team Charleston holds.

June Griggs, who turned 70 Feb. 14, celebrated her birthday by fearlessly jumping out of a plane.

It was a very small plane and there was just enough room on the floor for myself, the instructor and the cameraman, said Mrs. Griggs.

"The scary part was when all three of us had to stand on this little platform just before we jumped," she said.

She plans to take the plunge again on her 75th birthday.

"June proved to be a risk-taker when skydiving on her 70th birthday," said Amanda Ambrose, Airman and Family Readiness Flight community readiness technician. "Imagine this ... a lady who won't go to the mountains because she is scared of bears, but has no fear of jumping out of an airplane."

Mrs. Griggs, who will be celebrating 53 years of marriage to Peter Griggs on April 16, has been volunteering at Charleston AFB for 42 years.

One could say Mrs. Griggs is an honorary member of Team Charleston.

"I've been volunteering here at Charleston AFB since 1966 when I first got here," she said. "I love being able to talk to people and it's the perfect thing, you can set your own hours."

Throughout the years Mrs. Griggs has volunteered at the Family Services Center, Airman's Attic, medical clinic, base chapel, Lambs Elementary School and the commissary where she hands out the "Family Hand" to commissary shoppers. Mrs. Griggs was also at one time a member of the Enlisted Spouse's Club.

"June is an inspiration," said Betsy Crump, 437th Mission Support Squadron community readiness consultant. "She is truly committed to making a difference not only in the Air Force community but the Charleston community as well."

In 2003, Mrs. Griggs and a group of retirees from the retiree center inspected and updated first aid kits for the Charleston AFB medical warehouse. The first aid kits were used in every field pack carried into the field by every single deployed Charleston AFB military member.

"June is committed to her hours of service in our family services," said Ms. Ambrose.

When volunteering at the Airman's Attic, June's primary duties are to sort out the new items as well as checking out household items from the loan closet, said Ms. Crump.

In addition to working at the Airman's Attic, Mrs. Griggs volunteers her time at the base medical clinic where she works at the information desk.

"She answers any questions the patients may have and she also works the clinic switchboard," said Carolyn Kolva, 437th Medical Group medical records clerk. "Mrs. Griggs is a very nice lady."

Mrs. Griggs is also very active in the Charleston community. She volunteers her time at Lambs Elementary School where she works in the library as well as tutors students who have difficulties reading. Mrs. Griggs can also be found volunteering at the Tri-County Ministries soup kitchen.

"Volunteering energizes me because I'm not doing the same thing all the time," said Mrs. Griggs.

In 2001, Mrs. Griggs was awarded one of Bridgestone/Firestone's "100 Who Serve" awards. She was the North Charleston recipient and was given a $2,000 non-profit grant, which she turned around and donated to the Lambs Elementary School library.

The "100 Who Serve" campaign celebrated the 100th birthday of Bridgestone/Firestone. More than 700 people from across the country were nominated by family and friends for the award. Mrs. Griggs was recognized for her long-standing commitment to community service. She was selected by Bridgestone/Firestone for the projects she spearheaded at local shelters for the homeless and battered women as well as the students she tutors who suffer from reading difficulties.

"June is a full-time volunteer as she assists both on- and off-base agencies," said Ms. Ambrose. "The Charleston AFB community is most fortunate to claim Mrs. Griggs as 'one of our own."