Great people make great things happen for Team Vance

  • Published
  • By Col Fred Cheney
  • 71st Mission Support Group
Most of us are probably aware of the big construction projects that are happening at Vance AFB, such as the $1.2 million Gott Road extension, the $5.3 million Elam Road repair, the $15 million Consolidated Logistics Complex project (that will be starting any day), or the $11.3 million Military Family Housing construction project that is in full swing. Today, I'm not going to focus on these "big ticket" projects that are hard to miss, but rather on the smaller, but equally important projects that our great people are spearheading to make Vance AFB a better place to live every single day.
For example, you might have attended or watched our Town Hall meeting. What you may not be aware of is the many hours of work contributed by people such as Lew Hollis of our Civil Engineering Flight, Marilyn Lunday and Tom Ireland of our Housing Office, our chief master sergeants, and our first sergeants over several months to make sure that we developed the best possible plan to house our enlisted force. Behind the scenes, the Public Affairs office worked with the 71st Communications Squadron to make sure the event was televised over the Commander's Access Channel. TSgt Tim O'Connor coordinated facility setup, advertising and volunteers for the evening. Another big thank you goes to Lt Matt Laski and the Company Grade Officers' Council, who arranged child care and snacks for the event.
There are two small, low visibility projects that I would like to highlight because they make our quality of life and safety much better. First, our Civil Engineers have made our streets safer for our families by installing new street lights along Gott Road between the entrance to the housing area and the park. More lighting along other dark streets is on the way soon. Second, the 71st Communications Squadron just completed a major upgrade to our "Giant Voice" public address system. This upgrade helps guarantee rapid warning to the entire base population of severe weather or other hazardous conditions.
Our Services Division, led by Diane McCurdy, is also working hard to make Vance AFB a better place to live, work and play. With the invaluable help of SSgt Kevin Hurley and 2nd Lt Jason Fullmer, Services designed and built our new "OK Corral" Paintball Range. I personally had never played paintball before the recent grand opening tournament. Although I'm still nursing my wounded pride, I can tell all of you that this sport is a blast and encourage you all to give it a try. If you've ever thought of trying paintball, here is your chance! This project happened because members of Team Vance were willing to provide their time and talent to create something entirely new for the base.
Services is also expanding your golfing options. If you play like me, then you will need a LOT of practice and that can get expensive. Services just completed a year-long negotiation with Meadowlake Golf Course so we can now offer discounts on green fees.
Our new Vance Club Manager, Carson Campbell is also an impact player. Under his leadership, the Vance Club is now open seven days a week. The dining menu has expanded, we now offer a take-out menu, and there is now a "Grab and Go" breakfast available on weekdays. Don't forget we have "Football Frenzy" on Sundays, where every NFL game is available by satellite and cable.
Mr. Campbell has the support of volunteers to make the Vance Club better. Maj Ryan Jara has taken ownership of the "Final Turn" officer's lounge and is transforming the lounge's character to reflect the officer heritage of Vance AFB. Our Command Chief, CMSgt Jeff Kallas, has taken ownership of the "Crazy Horse" enlisted lounge and is organizing a similar transformation that will reflect enlisted heritage. Volunteers are still needed!
Vance AFB has the best community events I've ever seen at any base, such as our "Summer Shindig" and the recent "Fall Fest." These events are team efforts between the Family Support Center, the Services Division, and a host
Division, and a host of volunteers. Our next huge event is "Retiree Appreciation Day," Nov. 30. This event is sponsored by the Family Support Center and is our chance to say "thanks" to all of our retirees for their service and sacrifice.
My favorite community event is our "SIGMO" program, where we serve gourmet meals to our single Airmen, unaccompanied Airmen and families of our deployed Airmen. This program, sponsored by the Chapel, is run by a volunteer, Linda Deunk, along with a crowd of eager volunteers.
As you can see, there are a lot of great things going on at Vance AFB and a lot of our great people are making them happen. Some of these great things are result from us doing our jobs in true "Team Vance" style. Other events are totally organized by volunteers, while still others require a mixture of paid workers and volunteers. My suggestion to you is to do your part to make Vance AFB a better place to live by first performing your primary job as best as you can and then volunteer some of your free time. There are many events coming up that are associated with the holiday season ... volunteer to be part of one!
Over the next several months, there will be other special events such as the Special Olympics and Camp Tomahawk that will need you! Our Honor Guard desperately needs you!
Volunteering sacrifices some of your precious free time, but I guarantee you that the benefits to those you serve and yourself will far outweigh the costs. Be one of those great people making "Team Vance" great ... we need you!