NCOA Class 11-3 gives back to local community

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mavi Smith
  • The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center
The contributions of NCO Academy Class 11-3 to the local East Tennessee community were celebrated during their graduation ceremony at Wilson Hall, March 30.

From removing debris from local riverbanks and constructing hiking and biking trails to repairing local shelters and assisting stranded motorists, these students embraced the opportunity to help those in need.

While not a requirement for graduation, involvement in community service is highly encouraged of students attending the NCO Academy here.

"It's about giving something back to society," said Tech. Sgt. Lamar Anderson, an enlisted professional military education instructor. "It's a way for the students to embrace the local community and display the professionalism they embody every day."

Together, this class of 211 service members from around the country, contributed more than 550 hours to local organizations such as the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, Blount County Children's Home, Blount County Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, Little River Watershed Association, Maryville-Alcoa Greenway, and the Ronald MacDonald House.

They also dug deep into their pockets and collected $1,042 for the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee after heavy rainfall flooded their distribution center in Knoxville and destroyed nearly $150,000 worth of food in early February.

With the bulk purchasing power of three meals per dollar, their donation will help purchase more than 3,100 meals for those in need.

Student Tech. Sgt. Jory J. Ohmer, the NCOIC of refueling maintenance at Charleston AFB, S.C., said he was honored to present the check to a grateful Emily Cavender of the Second Harvest Food Bank on behalf of his class.

"This was something that happened during our time here and we wanted to help," said Ohmer. "We wanted to give back to the community for how good they were to us."

Many students said participating in these events gave them a sense of fulfillment.

"Community service is what the Air Force is about," said Ohmer. "We were glad to go out and help while we were here. It was a good experience."

The 211 service members of NCO Academy Class 11-3 included 125 Air Force members, 68 Air National Guardsmen, 14 Air Force Reservists, and 4 members of the U.S. Coast Guard. They came from 35 different states and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

This six-week in-residence course prepares service members in the grade of E-6 to be professional, war-fighting Airmen who can manage and lead their units. Students study curriculum in the areas of the profession of arms, leadership, and communication to build the skills they need for their current rank and to prepare for future responsibilities.