Little Rock AFB is full of everyday heroes

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- It was about 5:30 pm on Oct. 6 when my husband got a call informing him that his daughter's house had just burned to the ground and she and her family lost everything except the clothes on their backs.

I heard my husband ask "is everyone alright?"

Fortunately, no one was home at the time, but they lost three dogs and two cats in the fire.

My husband called his immediate family. Although I have no immediate family, I knew I could count on my military family. I talked with friends and coworkers and everyone asked what they could do to help.

They wanted me to compile a list of their immediate needs.

I gathered my list and went to see Master Sgt. Charles Doan, the 314th Medical Group first sergeant. I told him what had happened and asked him what we should do since the list was quite extensive.

He advised me to send a short e-mail to him explaining what happened and attach the list. He informed me he would send it to the entire medical group and to every first sergeant on base.

He comforted me by saying there are many caring people that would want to help and warned me to get ready for items to start coming in.

He was right. Calls and e-mails started coming in.

The generosity of the local community was overwhelming. We received so many donations of needed items, my husband and I had to rent a storage room to hold things until his daughter and her family found new living quarters.

It's nearly impossible for me to thank everyone individually.

The unexpected generosity from people I don't know touched my family deeply. Words cannot express our appreciation.

I cannot thank them enough.

We owe special thanks to Tech. Sgt. Reed Witherite, Master Sgt. Cefus Benner, Staff Sgt. Wesley Rains, Airman 1st Class Bethani Brown and Philip Arras, 314th Security Forces Squadron members, who spent all day Oct. 20 helping clear debris.
They ventured out in the middle of nowhere, with no facilities and spent their entire Saturday helping perfect strangers. They hauled and lifted heavy melted stove and refrigerator parts, metal roofing and cleared away a four-foot pile of rubble.

Another heartfelt thanks is due to Lt. Col. John Powers, the 314th Medical Support Squadron commander, who allowed me a flexible work schedule to help my family.

And last, but not least, Jamie Featherston, a North Pulaski High School student who gathered toys and clothing for my eight-year-old granddaughter. When she got her first toy, she clutched it close to her heart.

My stepdaughter and son-in-law have a long way to go, but they wanted me to thank everyone from the bottom of their hearts.

I smiled and said, "I never doubted my military family would come through."