New York National Guard Junior Airmen volunteer time to help Habitat for Humanity

  • Published
  • By Major Patrick Cordova
  • 105th Airlift Wing
NEWBURGH, N.Y.--Junior Airmen from the New York Air National Guard's 105th Airlift Wing used their off-duty time to help Habitat for Humanity house three needy Newburgh families on Saturday, April 18.

Twelve Members of the Logistics Readiness Squadron's First Six Council volunteered their time to help build three houses.

The First Six Council is an organization consisting of unit members from Airman Basic to Technical Sergeant that are actively engaged in preparing themselves to become senior noncommissioned officers.

"One of our focuses is the advancement of the community and becoming more involved in how that happens", said Tech. Sgt Michael Winfield,a fuels technician with the 105th Logistics Readiness Squadron and president of the LRS First Six Council.

"It shows our people that leadership is not only doing their duties on the base. That folks can take those concepts and branch out; to take some ownership of their community and it shows," Winfield said.

" It gives you a sense of pride when you help build up a community and you see a location like the one were working and know that you played a part in putting that together,' he added.

"This is where we work, but for a lot of us this is also our community", said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Dichiara, command post craftsman for the 105th Airlift Wing and president of the Wing First Six Council. "Anything we can do as Airmen and Guardsmen to help our community will make this a better place for everybody."

Airman 1st Class Stephanie Lloyd, a distribution section trainee in the 105th Logistical Readiness Squadron, came up with the idea to help Habitat for Humanity, Winfield said.

She'll remain in contact with the group and reach out to 105th Airmen when more help is needed, he explained.

Habitat for Humanity, which is building 76 houses in Newburgh, is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to put families in decent, affordable housing.

The Airmen spent five hours at the site, insulating the foundations of three houses, removing trash and debris from the worksite, and waterproofing part of one foundation.

With much more construction needed to finish the job, the team was invited to assist in raising the walls in May.

"It's awesome to have you guys", Steven Swyryt, volunteer and outreach coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh, told the Airmen.

"We're so happy to have you coming here and giving back to the community even more than you already do. It's fantastic to see you guys sacrificing time and everything else to help us out and to help your community out. Everyone loves seeing people from the military come out and work side by side with us and doing something really great," he said

"One of the homes specifically is Veteran's Build," Swyryt said. "So at least one is going to a veteran of the armed forces."

Veterans Build is a Habitat for Humanity's national initiative to provide housing solutions and volunteer and employment opportunities to U.S. veterans, military service members and their families.

Also lending a helping hand was Jim Weber, Boeing Company Site manager for the C-17s at Stewart Air National Guard Base, and members of his team.

"We were invited by the 105th LRS First Six Council, and we decided that it would be a great thing to do on a Saturday," Weber said. "We have an excellent partnership between the company and the 105th. We look forward to these kinds of opportunities to strengthen the bonds we have with each other and support the local community we both share."