Airman's Attic seeks volunteers

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Maxwell-Gunter Airman's Attic, a source where technical sergeants and below can acquire needed items for the home and family at no charge, is looking for volunteers, according to director Angelica Orlando.

"If you enjoy good company and working for a good cause, come and spend some time with us," she said. "You can set your own volunteer schedule without a major commitment."

The Airman's Attic, located off March Street near Willow Road in Building 1209, is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The attic provides a wide variety of household items at no charge for Airmen E-6 and below. The center is staffed entirely by volunteers.

Working closely with the Airman's Attic are Maxwell's first sergeants.

"Helping Airmen is what the Airman's Attic is all about, but without volunteers the Airman's Attic may not be able to continue to provide the service we would like to for our Airmen," said Senior Master Sgt. Todd A. Burrows, first sergeant for Air University Headquarters.

Sergeant Burrows said the First Sergeant Counsel supports the Airman's Attic by picking up and delivering any donations. The counsel is also the point of contact for any issues that arise with facilities and customers.

The attic director said she's trying to get the word out to incoming Airmen so they can use their services "without any money changing hands." Mrs. Orlando said, "Right now we're in the 'hot season' as the students arrive and hit their respective schoolhouses."

The number of Maxwell-Gunter families the attic serves appears to increase each month. The attic served 210 families in January and 264 in April.

Working at the attic is rewarding, according to the director. "Especially when you are helping someone who has fallen on bad luck. It is nice; it is truly rewarding. You really get to know the families."

Routine tasks for volunteers include greeting customers, unpacking and sorting donated items and restocking shelves.

Some of the newest attic volunteers are retired Chief Master Sgt. James McCloskey and his wife Elsie, they consider it a "wonderful pleasure" to work at the attic. "There's no way to give back to the Air Force enough after spending over 30 memorable years in the service," Chief McCloskey said.

"The cost of living is higher, the economy has changed and it's difficult for them to keep up financially.Volunteering gives us a great feeling that we've helped - and it's just a joy to be here in this relaxed atmosphere," Mrs. McCloskey said.

Mrs. Orlando said once items have been at the attic awhile, and do not appear needed in the future, they are donated to local charities.

The summer break from school presents teenagers with a chance to volunteer at the center. Mrs. Orlando said children ages 12 and up are welcome. 

On July 11, Mrs. Orlando and her staff are planning an open house and cook-out. She said the purpose is to welcome new volunteers and to do a summer clean-out of all excess donations before they are sent to local charities.

"This will be a last-chance opportunity for families to come and take whatever items we have before they are cleared out to make room for newly donated items. While they shop, we will provide grilled burgers and hot dogs and watch the kids play on a newly donated jungle gym. Everyone just get to know one another," she said.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the Maxwell-Gunter Airman's Attic should call 953-6200 or contact their first sergeant for more information.