An Airman’s Holiday

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rebecca Imwalle
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The holiday months are a time often associated with family and togetherness, but they can seem to lose meaning when far away from friends and family.

Senior Airman Lucille Perkins-Wagel, 28th Force Support Squadron services technician, will have spent the last three holiday seasons away from her family after this year, and to help lighten the mood she goes to great lengths to ensure the period of fellowship and holiday cheer never loses its significance.

"Being away from home on the holidays is pretty rough the first year," Perkins-Wagel said. "However, I have found that the second year is a little bit more difficult, because it seems more lasting and final. Once you get older and realize that this will become the norm, it takes adjusting."

Perkins-Wagel explained that in her opinion, the only way to adjust to this unique lifestyle is to form a good support group of friends.

"My family is religious, we actually celebrate both Hanukah and Christmas, so the holiday season is a little longer than normal," Perkins-Wagel said. "Being away from your family is rough, but too many people focus on that. I think that the heart of the season is being thankful for what we have, and the best way to spend that is with other people who care about you and understand what you're going through, whether that is with family, friends or co-workers."

Ellsworth offers many opportunities to celebrate the holidays to include holiday parties and dorm gatherings to ensure no one has to spend their holidays alone, even when they are hundreds of miles from their family.

Master Sgt. Kellie Boisse, 28th Force Support Squadron first sergeant, emphasized that it is very important for Airmen to socialize during these times.

"Time away leaves a lot of time to think and dwell on missing families and friends," Boisse said. "While Airmen are away [from home] they don't feel like they're a part of something."

Boisse shared her experience as an Airman, adding that her supervision did a great job of welcoming her to the base by making sure she felt part of the unit. She also noted that she made a great group of friends who would often plan road trips together.

"I usually work on Christmas and new years, so my experience is a little different [from other Airmen]," Perkins-Wagel explained. "I get to help other people adjust to being away from home, even if it is just a smile and saying Merry Christmas. I get to connect with a lot of people that way."

Perkins-Wagel added that the feeling of being welcomed or being a part of something can have a lasting impact on your holiday season.

"I encourage Airmen to call home or Skype during certain days they know their family will be together," Boisse said. "I also encourage them to get out and volunteer. By giving back to someone in need you [become] part of something bigger than you."

Boisse urges Airmen to stay busy, which helps keep everyone from dwelling on being far away from the familiar. She explained that getting out of dorm rooms promotes fellowship with others and helps build resiliency.

Ultimately, Airmen seeking to make the most of this upcoming holiday are encouraged to step outside of their comfort zone, become involved with holiday activities and to reach out to others that might not have a place to go.