Placing 'service before self'

  • Published
  • By Airman Alessandra N. Gamboa
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Throughout the years, Ellsworth Airmen have demonstrated the Air Force core value of service before self by providing support for activities and events in the local community.

As a way of giving back to other communities and showing support for Airmen and their families on base, volunteers routinely provide support to a variety of activities that improve quality of life, foster the success of special events and ensure the safety of their fellow Airmen.

"For example, hundreds of volunteers from Ellsworth have donated more than 26,000 hours in support of the Safe Ride program in 2010," said Laurie Adkins, 28th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness technician. "This has been a huge benefit to not only the base population, but also to the local community by keeping impaired drivers off the roadways."

Ms. Adkins also underlined the importance of volunteers to not only saving lives through Safe Ride, but also to ensuring the continued success of various base agencies, such as the thrift shop.

"The B-one Yard Thrift Shop is operated by a fantastic group of volunteers," she said. "Without their dedication and support, this vital base program would not be available."

Another base agency to receive support from Airmen volunteers is the base library.

"Here at Holbrook Library, there are several volunteer events that have proved invaluable to us," said Jeanne Stoltenburg, the 28th FSS Holbrook Library supervisory librarian. "Several years ago when carpeting in the library needed to be replaced, 25 Airmen from the Airman Leadership School devoted their time to moving books and furniture. Just a few weeks ago during a restoration project at the library, 14 Airmen helped to move furniture so that carpet could be laid in a back office."

Mrs. Stoltenburg said it was pleasant to see how well the Airmen worked together and to observe the great work they accomplished.

While Ms. Adkins explained that many volunteers do not devote their time for recognition, there are ways to reward them for their selfless service to others.

While the primary reason to volunteer should be to help those in need, volunteering also carries many benefits and rewards for the Airmen involved. This isn't limited only to quarterly and annual squadron, group and wing awards, though. It includes the annual Volunteer Excellence Award (only awarded to civilian volunteers with a presentation ceremony tentatively scheduled during the week of July 18, 2011) and the President's Volunteer Service award.

"The President's Volunteer Service program is a way for people to find volunteer opportunities, track their own hours, and remain eligible to receive recognition once they meet certain milestones," said Ms. Adkins. "We encourage everyone who is currently volunteering or is looking for volunteer opportunities to go to the website at, , set up a profile and use the A&FRC's service key code if they would like us to be the certifying organization."

For more detailed information on how to access or set up their profile, Airmen can call the A&FRC at (605) 385-4663.

"The nice thing about this program is that it is completely portable," Ms. Adkins said. "So, if you undergo a permanent change of station or your child goes off to college, you can still record volunteer hours and continue to work toward an award."