Guard members give back
By Master Sgt. Mavi Smith, The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center
/ Published July 23, 2009
McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- A group of 51 servicemembers from The Air National Guard Training and Education Center ended a week of professional development training by performing community service projects that benefited the local agencies AnimalWorks, Blount County Children's Home, Haven House, and Asbury Place.
"Part of the expectation of being an Air National Guard member is that we connect with and give back to our local communities," said Col. Michael L. Waggett, commander of the TEC. "We helped some really worthy causes today and it's a great way to begin the holiday season."
AnimalWorks, a no kill animal shelter in Alcoa, hosted 18 servicemembers who helped by cleaning kennels and socializing with their animals.
"As a non-profit organization, any help we receive from anyone in the community is always valued," said Robin Granger, the vice president and treasurer of AnimalWorks. "Our animals are well cared for but they don't get the same benefit of extra attention and human contact as an animal in someone's home. They are showing lots of attention to our animals, which is wonderful."
Staff Sgt. Adam B. Thornton, an instructor at the TEC, was so taken with a terrier named Sweetness that he decided to adopt her.
"She's a very sweet and nice dog," said Thornton. "I wasn't expecting to do this today. I was expecting to walk a dog and go back to work, but instead I'm taking a dog home."
Another nine servicemembers went to the Wal-Mart in Alcoa and helped wrap Christmas presents for shoppers to benefit the Blount County Children's Home.
An additional 10 servicemembers helped Haven House, a domestic violence emergency shelter for women and children, with repairs, painting and landscaping projects.
Asbury Place, an assisted living retirement community in Maryville, welcomed 14 servicemembers who helped by cleaning windows and organizing medical records.
"They are doing wonderful things for us today. Our residents are so appreciative that these servicemembers would come out to help them," said Carla Rafferty, the activity director for Asbury Place. "A lot of our residents were either in the service themselves or their husbands were in the service. They have great sense of pride that someone from the military would come out and help them with their home."