Airman's Attic feeds, clothes, furnishes Airmen

by Rebecca Burylo
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

12/13/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- The motto, Airmen helping Airmen, is more than a nice saying at the Airman's Attic. It's placing food, clothes, uniforms and boots directly into the hands of a military member.

Offered to enlisted Airmen with the rank of technical sergeant and below, the attic provides household goods, cooking ware, books, electronics, clothes, furniture and children's toys. A stocked food pantry offers nonperishable goods along with a freezer of quality meats.

An assortment of uniforms, hats, shoes and boots are also available for both enlisted military members and officers.

The attic once helped Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Phillips, who now teaches at Officer Training School. As current vice president of the Airman's Attic, located on East Shumacher Drive on Maxwell, he wants to give back to his fellow Airmen.

"The Airman's Attic provides for families who are struggling, Airmen who come into the Air Force and have gone through financial situations where they've lost things or cannot afford them," Phillips said.

All items are either new or gently used and are thoroughly checked and cleaned before being put out on the shelves and racks. Anything not used at the attic is given to a local mission center.

However, the attic is not only for those struggling financially.

The Airman's Attic is a place open to all who need a helping hand or who simply want to browse the new items coming in daily. Free of charge to customers, the attic and everything inside are run entirely by donations and volunteers.

Volunteers like Tiffany Phillips, who has helped at the attic for a year, give their time because it's a program that works.

"I'm so glad that there is a program like this," Phillips said. "It just feels great to give back because it has helped me along the way, and I have been able to get my son clothes and things that are usually so expensive."

During the recent government shutdown, the Airman's Attic was able to provide 1,500 pounds of donated organic produce to more than 230 military family members, civilians and contractors.

The attic helps families in other ways, too, such as furnishing an empty house for Gia Green and her husband, Airman 1st Class Delontae Green while he works at Air Command and Staff College.

"We're newlyweds, and we just got stationed here for his first duty station," Green said. "There was nothing in the house, so we came over here to the Airman's Attic. They've really helped us out trying to get stuff for our house."

Volunteers give their time and energy to make the attic a helpful, clean, friendly environment for anyone who needs to furnish a dorm, find an item or prepare a meal.

Master Sgt. Jason Gibson, of the 42nd Medical Group, has volunteered with the attic for years and witnesses firsthand the impact he has on people's lives.

"The more I volunteered, the more I saw the need for the volunteers going out, helping and doing the extra stuff," Gibson said. "We average 50 people a day, and the outreach that we have and the impact on people's lives, it makes a huge difference."

Now president and facility manager of Maxwell's Airman's Attic, Gibson helps families move large pieces of furniture with his pickup truck.

Bob Callahan, a veteran volunteer at the attic, has been its director for six years. He personally works with military members and families to make them comfortable.

"The best thing is when people walk out and they have a smile on their face and you know you helped them," Callahan said. "It makes them and you feel good, and that's the only reason why we're here; it's to help people and make them feel good and feel comfortable."

For information, call the Airman's Attic at 953-6200.