(left to right) Brig. Gen. William Welch, Air Force Recruiting Service commander; Brig. Gen. Leonard Patrick, 502nd Air Base Wing commander; Maj. Gen. James Whitmore, Air Education and Training Command vice commander; Gen. Stephen Lorenz, AETC commander; Col. Robert S. Bridgford, 502 ABW vice commander and Maj. Gen. Mark Solo, 19th Air Force commander sign pledge cards to kickoff the 2010 Combined Federal Campaign. Randolph Air Force Base hosted a breakfast at the Parr Club Tuesday to celebrate the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Melissa Peterson)
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas —
The San Antonio civilian and military communities joined hands as Randolph's 2010 Combined Federal Campaign officially began Tuesday with a kickoff breakfast.
The event featured comments from Gen. Stephen Lorenz, Air Education and Training Command commander; Brig. Gen. Leonard Patrick, 502nd Air Base Wing commander; retired Lt. Gen. David McIlvoy, Boysville chief executive officer; and retired Col. Jim Watson, Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio executive director.
The Combined Federal Campaign, the world's largest annual workplace charity campaign, benefits nonprofit organizations that provide health and human service benefits. Participants in the campaign can donate money to charitable agencies through payroll deduction or cash contribution. Contributors' brochures will be distributed on base, and participants will designate one or more of the agencies for contributions.
During the breakfast at the Parr Club, Mr. Watson, former vice commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, told the audience that an essay written by a 16-year-old Boys Club member captures the essence of the CFC and the United Way, its civilian counterpart. In his essay, the student acknowledges there are times when hope seems to be lost, that life isn't always fair. But he also said hope "is always there to lead you to a better life."
"Never give up on yourself," Mr. Watson said, reading from the essay. "If your goal is to survive, opportunities will arise to lead you to a better way."
Mr. Watson said the many agencies that benefit from the CFC and the United Way often work together. He said Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio members help Christian Senior Services in one of their missions, Meals on Wheels, which delivers food to homebound senior citizens. The students also benefit themselves when they help others.
"They get values," he said. "They learn about volunteering. They learn that, despite the fact that they come from difficult circumstances, they add great value to our community. They can, in fact, make major contributions."
Mr. Watson said the beauty of the CFC and United Way "is that we're all providing hope and opportunity to all these people in the various agencies that are asking for your help and for your donations this morning."
General Patrick urged key workers, the personnel who seek donations for the CFC, to tell potential contributors about the organizations the campaign benefits.
"Don't throw the forms in the middle of the room," he said. "Go up and hand it to them and ask, 'Have you participated before?' And if they have, you know you'll get the contribution back. If they haven't, spend the time to talk to them about just what the gifts are and show them all the different local and national research foundations and agencies they can contribute to."
General Patrick said a guest speaker at Lackland Air Force Base two years ago called CFC donations "investments," not contributions.
"You're investing in someone's future, to make it better for them, whether it's a loved one fighting a disease or just two boys who need a father figure or a family," he said.
Military and civilian personnel throughout Joint Base San Antonio will have an opportunity to contribute to the campaign through Oct. 31. JBSA's goal this year is $5.5 million; Randolph's share of that goal is $1.15 million.