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Volunteer team helps Veterans

Posted 8/28/2013   Updated 8/28/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Foster
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


8/28/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- A group of Air Force personnel recently teamed up to demolish walls and remove debris in a home bought by the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center.

According to their website, www.northeastveterans.org, the outreach center was founded in 1985 to address the needs of Veterans and their families throughout the Merrimack Valley. They offer information and assistance with referral, advocacy and support for local Veterans.

The house had been foreclosed and was in poor shape before the veterans group bought it. They needed volunteers to help with the removal of appliances, debris and left over items from the previous tenant.

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Lanning, a flight chief with the recruiting squadron at Hanscom, coordinated the group of volunteers that included four recruiters, three recruiting support staff, a security forces Airman participating in the Recruiters Assistance Program and five more Airmen from the base.

"As recruiters, we're constantly reminded that we're the first face of the Air Force," said Lanning. "So when you do this type of thing, you're showing the community you're involved and an integral part of that community. We're not just here to show up at an event and sign up their kids!"

The volunteers spent approximately seven hours preparing the house for future tenants. The plan is to transform the current two apartments into three apartments and have the Veterans and their families moved in by Christmas.

Lanning, who has been in the Air Force for 15 years and worked in the ammunitions career field before becoming a recruiter, said it is important that supervisors encourage their people to volunteer.

"When I was an Airman, I didn't want to volunteer because I wanted to go and just do my own thing...but my boss made me go," he said. "Once you get out there a few times and see the reward and how you are making a difference, you don't need anyone pushing you to do it; you want to help."

The house, located in West Andover, is just one of many buildings and apartments in the area that the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center manages in an effort to help previous servicemembers and their families get back on their feet.

"I especially enjoy volunteering my time to help veterans," Lanning said. "The people that came before us paved the way for what we're doing now. We may not be here if it wasn't for them and what they sacrificed for us."

After one day and a lot of hard work by the group of volunteers, the outreach team is one step closer to renovation and changing the lives of three families.

Lanning added, "It's important to take time out of your day to help others...we recruit all the time, let's get involved in the community and show good will."

To find out more information on what the outreach center is doing to help Veterans, visit www.northeastveterans.org.



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