FSA students among those helping out local schools



by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs


8/19/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, GUNTER ANNEX, Ala. -- Maxwell-Gunter is giving back to the Montgomery community one brushstroke at a time.

For the fourth year more than 150 Airmen and base personnel participated in an area wide effort to prepare 57 schools for incoming students.

"It is an opportunity to build a relationship with the Montgomery community," said Ruben Aguilar, Maxwell-Gunter's volunteer resource coordinator. "Not just with its leaders but its educators, students and parents to show them we care enough to help make a difference."

More than 20 First Sergeant Academy students painted classrooms at Fews Elementary School Saturday.

Volunteering is part of the first sergeants' mission. "Our profession is taking care of people," said Master Sgt. Chris Owen, class leader. "We're supporting the people who support the Airmen."

The master sergeants are only at Gunter Annex for three weeks and see this opportunity as part of a larger mission of support.

"When we're in uniform, people say 'thank you for your service,'" said Master Sgt. Johnny Riaz. "I always respond with thanks for giving me something worth fighting for."

Though they are from all over the country, the First Sergeant Academy students dedicated their Saturday saying thanks to Montgomery.

"In the short time we've been here we've gotten some great support from the Montgomery community," said Master Sgt. Darrin Oglesby.

Oscar Boykin, a local businessman and resident, appreciated the Airmen's assistance. Throughout the day, he said he reminisced about when he went to Fews and was pleased to see people taking such an interest in his school.

"Maxwell is very involved in helping out in the community," he said. "It's always great to see these guys working hard and helping."

The Maxwell-Gunter community will continue the school clean-up campaign this weekend and look for more opportunities to help people off-base.

"The community often turns to the military community for help with many of their endeavors, and the military community has always been quick to respond," Aguilar said. "It is things such as this that creates and strengthens bonds with both the military and civilian communities and allows us to support each other daily."