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The Gift of the Air Force Family

  • Published
  • By Col. Laura Lenderman
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander
The holiday season has taken on different meaning to me over the years--family, traveling, traditions, deployments, and ... more traveling.  But, this year brings an even deeper appreciation for what it means to be a part of the Air Force family.

Many of you know that my husband, Dave, is serving in a command position at another base, and our extended families are far away. That could make it hard to get in the holiday spirit and navigate the many festive activities that occur this time of year, but instead it has brought me closer to all of you.

Thank you for your kindness by including Command Chief Wesley Mathias and me in your unit celebrations and the many holiday activities around the base.  We are deeply humbled by the outpouring of generosity and kindness we have witnessed across the installation as Airmen have reached out to ensure everyone is included and taken care of this holiday season. 

This is yet another reason why I serve. You are sending care packages to our deployers, taking care of our families at Scott, providing cookies to dorm residents, collecting toys for families in need, providing warm meals and hot cocoa to shift workers, and sponsoring Angel Trees and ringing bells to raise money for those in crises. Our Air Force community comes together in countless ways to help and serve others.

Having deployed twice over the holiday season, I personally witnessed the overwhelming outpouring of appreciation shown by the American public as care packages poured into our deployed locations.  We all enjoyed handmade cards and treats from families as well as drawings from children. I will always cherish those memories.

And, something I learned as a military child from the many holidays we spent traveling to my grandparents' homes; it seemed like we were never in our own home. This instilled in me the idea that home truly is where the heart is. Whether traveling in the car, walking through the airport, or serving meals at a deployed locations, I found that I could see and deeply feel the "holiday spirit" even when separated from loved ones.
So, I want to thank you for reaching out and making not only those connections with me, but with everyone in your unit and across our installation. Our Air Force family is there for each of us--for all of us. This is what you have reminded me of this year. This is what inspires me every day.

Be safe in your travels whether near or far, and thank you for giving the gift of a warm, inclusive and supportive Air Force family by staying connected and concerned for each other now and all year long.